"Brilliant." "Quiet." "Dedicated."
Those words have been used since Monday to describe Dr. Lloyd Rudley, who was killed in a head-on vehicle collision with a New Jersey state trooper, who also died.
"I remember our classmate fondly. He was a quiet soul and is now at peace with God," Lorraine Hill wrote on the Vineland High School Class of '73 Facebook page, which posted a picture of a young Rudley and said he was the class valedictorian.
Another Facebook user called Rudley a "brilliant mind."
"Breaks my heart," wrote Jen Powell Spigelmyer, who said she was one of Rudley's patients. "He was very dedicated to his patients."
Authorities are investigating what caused Rudley's Toyota Corolla to veer from southbound Route 55 about 7 p.m. Monday, cross a grassy median, and collide with Trooper Frankie Williams' patrol car in the northbound lanes.
A close friend of Rudley, 61, said Wednesday that Rudley had a history of diabetes and could have lost control for medical reasons. Kristi Schaller, 60, of Pittsgrove, discounted the possibility of Dudley's drinking, saying, "He never touched alcohol a day in his life."
State police declined to comment Thursday, citing the ongoing investigation.
Williams, 31, was responding to reports of an erratic driver when the collision happened, authorities said.
Emergency dispatchers received three 911 calls before the accident.
"I think there's a drunk driver right here in front of me," one woman said, according to a recording of the call obtained through a public records request. "He's swerving on the road."
Another caller said one of the car's front tires was blown out. A separate caller said she wasn't sure whether the driver was drunk or something else was happening.
"He's almost all over the road," she said. "He almost hit us."
Rudley was pronounced dead at the scene after the crash.
He worked in a private practice at the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, which closed in 1997, and more recently maintained a psychiatry practice in Elmer, Salem County. Friends said he lived in Philadelphia.
Williams graduated from the state police academy in January and was recently married.
He is the fourth state trooper to die in a car accident in less than two years. In its 95-year history, the New Jersey State Police has never lost as many troopers to motor-vehicle crashes in such a short period.