By: Najla Alexander
Authorities in Ocean County announced today that Angel Garcia-Rodriguez, 26, of Lakewood, was charged with Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Crash, Resulting in a Death, as well as Endangering an Injured Victim.
Officials say all these charges are in connection with a motor vehicle crash that occurred in the early morning hours of July 22, 2023, in Lakewood Township.
Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said at approximately 2:25 a.m., officers from the Lakewood Township Police responded to the area of James Street for a report of a severe motor vehicle crash.
According to officials, responding officers found that a 2007 Honda Civic had struck a utility pole.
Officers also discovered that the driver of the vehicle had fled the scene of the crash and located a critically injured male victim in the car's passenger seat.
The male victim was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries, officials stated.
According to Prosecutor Billhimer, an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Lakewood Township Police revealed that the Honda Civic was traveling westbound on James Street when it lost directional control and struck the utility pole on the passenger side door.
The investigation further revealed that Garcia-Rodriguez was the vehicle's operator at the time of the crash and that he had fled the scene before police arrived, authorities say.
Garcia-Rodriguez was ultimately located at a residence in Lakewood and taken into custody without incident.
Officials say he was transported to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, where a court-authorized sample of his blood was taken.
He was then transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.