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Beachwood Resident Surrenders to Face Homicide Charges Following Fatal Plumsted Township Crash

Ocean County

MorganBy: Richard L. Smith 

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer reported that on August 22, Mr. John Zinkoski, 41, of Beachwood, surrendered himself, accompanied by his attorney, to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office.

This surrender is in connection with charges of Vehicular Homicide and Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide stemming from a tragic motor vehicle collision that transpired in Plumsted Township on May 12, 2023. 

Prosecutor Billhimer said the crash led to the untimely demise of Ms. Judi Smith, 59, of Browns Mills. 

Police formally charged Zinkoski on August 8, 2023, and a subsequent arrest warrant was issued on that day. 

The investigation indicated that at approximately 5:50 p.m. on May 12, 2023, officers from the Plumsted Township Police Department promptly responded to the intersection of Pinehurst Road and Long Swamp Road, where a severe motor vehicle accident occurred.

The preliminary investigation conducted by the Plumsted Township Police Department unveiled that a Volvo XC6, operated by the late Ms. Smith, was making a right turn onto Pinehurst Road when it was forcefully struck by a southbound Nissan Frontier helmed by Zinkoski.

The tragic impact of the collision left Ms. Smith with grave injuries, compelling her to be transported to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood.

Regrettably, despite medical intervention, she succumbed to her injuries.

Prosecutor Billhimer said Zinkoski, on the other hand, was swiftly airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where he received treatment for his injuries and was subsequently discharged.

After an initial blood draw conducted at the hospital, laboratory results came to light, indicating that Zinkoski's Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), at the time of the accident, exceeded the legal limit.

In line with New Jersey law, an operator of a motor vehicle is assumed to be above the permissible alcohol consumption limit if their BAC stands at .08 or higher.

Notably, the laboratory findings also uncovered the presence of cocaine and benzodiazepine in Zinkoski’s bloodstream during the crash.

Additionally, extensive inquiry undertaken jointly by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and the Plumsted Township Police Department established that Zinkoski's vehicle was traveling at an average speed of 86 miles per hour at the moment of impact.

Following his voluntary surrender at the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, Zinkoski was taken into custody and transported to the Ocean County Jail.

He will remain there pending a detention hearing, which will determine his custody status with the charges brought against him.