The tragic car accident happened on Thanksgiving night in 2013. The suspect, a 47-year-old male who lived in Wilkes Barre, PA, was driving a commuter van eastbound on Route 80 in Mount Olive, New Jersey. The suspect was transporting passengers from Pennsylvania to NY.
The van suddenly overturned when it slammed into a guardrail near the Route 206 exit. The suspect later told police that the accident was unavoidable because he was forced to the median on the side of the road by a large box truck.
One 22-year-old PA woman, a passenger in the van, died as a result of the car accident. Additionally, nine other people traveling in the van sustained bodily injuries.
Law enforcement believes that the suspect was high on cocaine when the fatal accident occurred. According to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, a toxicology report showed that the suspect had cocaine metabolites in his bloodstream while driving.
The suspect faces charges for vehicular homicide, in addition to nine counts of assault by auto. Moreover, the suspect has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child because one of the passengers in the van was under the age of 18.
The suspect has now been indicted by a Morris County grand jury. He recently made an appearance in Morris County Superior Court for an arraignment hearing, during which he entered a plea of not guilty.
The suspect’s defense counsel is reportedly negotiating a possible plea deal with Morris County prosecutors.
If the suspect is eventually found guilty on the vehicular manslaughter charges, he would be subject to severe penalties. Beyond that the suspect could face deportation because he is not a U.S. citizen.
To learn more about this case, go to the DailyRecord.com article entitled “Van Driver Pleads Innocent in Mount Olive Fatal Crash.”