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Howell Man Indicted for Vehicular Homicide

Howell Township

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on January 27, Stephen McGuire, 44, of Howell Township, was indicted by a Grand Jury sitting in Ocean County on the charges of Vehicular Homicide, as well as Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide in connection with the death of James Grover, 62, also of Howell, on December 12, 2020, in Manchester Township.

According to Prosecutor Billhimer, McGuire was also indicted on three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child in connection with the same incident.

Prosecutor Billhimer said that on December 12, 2020, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Officers from the Manchester Township Police Department responded to Heritage Minerals Mine, also known as ASARCO, on Route 70 in Whiting, for a report of a motor vehicle accident with a submersion. 

According to Prosecutor Billhimer, Responding Officers spoke to a group of individuals who were operating Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs); the group related to the Officers that a UTV had entered the lake at the center of the property, causing the UTV and its passengers to be submerged in the lake.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Manchester Township Police Department revealed that a UTV being driven by McGuire, which included James Grover and three minors as passengers, had entered the lake. The UTV and Mr. Grover did not resurface. 

According to the investigation, the other passengers and members of the group attempted to locate Mr. Grover but were unsuccessful. 

According to Prosecutor Billhimer, Manchester Township Police and members of the Manchester, Ridgeway, and Whiting Volunteer Fire Companies conducted an underwater dive search and rescue operation and located the UTV overturned and submerged in 25 feet of water. 

Prosecutor Billhimer said that Mr. Grover was attached to the UTV by his safety harness. Mr. Grover was removed from his safety harness, and life-saving measures were performed by Manchester Township Emergency Medical Technicians and Robert Wood Johnson Paramedics. 

Mr. Grover succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

McGuire was taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River in furtherance of the investigation. 

A search warrant was obtained for a draw of his blood; laboratory results from the blood draw, received by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office on January 5, 2021, revealed that McGuire had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .127 %. 

In the State of New Jersey, an operator of a motor vehicle is presumed to be over the legal limit for purposes of alcohol consumption where their BAC is .08 or greater.

On January 5, 2021, McGuire was arrested without incident at his residence in Howell by Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Officers from Manchester Township Police Department. 

He was transported to the Ocean County Jail and subsequently released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.