A Pennsylvania man has pleaded not guilty to charges of causing a fatal car accident in Mount Olive, New Jersey.
The tragic car crash occurred on Thanksgiving night in 2013. The suspect, a 47-year-old man from Wilkes Barre, PA, was driving a commuter van eastbound on Route 80 in Mount Olive, NJ. The suspect was taking the passengers from Pennsylvania to New York.
The van overturned when it struck a guardrail near the Route 206 exit. The suspect contends that the van overturned after he was forced to the median on the side of the road by a large truck.
The accident resulted in the death of one passenger in the van and also caused injuries to nine other people traveling in the van. The victim who died in the accident was a 22-year-old woman from Pennsylvania. She was reportedly not wearing a seat belt. Most of the other passengers sustained bodily injuries of various degrees.
It is believed by authorities that the suspect was high on cocaine at the time of the fatal accident. According to Morris County NJ prosecutors, the suspect had cocaine metabolites in his bloodstream.
The suspect was charged with vehicular homicide, as well as nine counts of assault by auto. Additionally, the suspect was charged with child endangerment because one of the van passengers was under the age of 18.
The suspect was subsequently indicted by a Morris County grand jury. Now he is set to face trial on the very serious criminal charges.
The suspect recently appeared in Morris County Superior Court for an arraignment and entered a plea of not guilty.
The suspect’s defense attorney is said to be talking to Morris County prosecutors in the hopes of working out a plea deal in the case.
If the suspect is ultimately found guilty on the most serious charges of vehicular manslaughter, he faces severe penalties. Moreover, the suspect could potentially be deported because he is not a U.S. citizen and is reportedly in the county on a Green Card.
For further information about this case, see the DailyRecord.com article entitled “Van Driver Pleads Innocent in Mount Olive Fatal Crash.”