Pemberton Man Pleads Guilty to Causing Friend’s Death While Driving Impaired

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a 22-year-old Pemberton Township man pled guilty today in Superior Court to driving impaired and causing a crash late last year in Woodland Township that killed a friend who was traveling in his vehicle.

Authorities say under an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office, Donald Shinn pled guilty to Vehicular Homicide (Second Degree) in exchange for a four-year term in New Jersey state prison. The Hon. James J. Morley, J.S.C. scheduled sentencing for February 7, 2020.

The investigation began on December 22, 2018, just after 3 a.m. when New Jersey State Police Troopers responded to a motor vehicle crash on County Road 563.

According to police, the investigation revealed that Shinn’s Toyota Tundra left the roadway and struck several trees after attempting to pass another vehicle illegally. Cody Watson, 20, of Pemberton Township, was seated in the front passenger’s seat and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Shinn was treated for moderate injuries at a local hospital. A third passenger seated in the rear of the vehicle declined to accept medical treatment.

Toxicology tests performed on blood drawn from Shinn following the crash indicated he was legally impaired at the time of the incident. The New Jersey State Police conducted the investigation. Shinn is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Joshua Dennis, supervisor of the BCPO Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Unit.