An Essex County man is in custody and criminally charged withcausing a fatal two-vehicle collision on the Garden State Parkway earlier this week, then trying to cover up his role in it, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Wednesday.
Officials said Mr. Ronaldo Godwin, 43, of Newark is charged with second-degree death by auto and second-degree witness tampering in connection with the death of Mr. Christopher Meikle, 46, of East Orange.
According to a statement released by Union County Prosecutor officials, shortly before 2:45 a.m. on Monday, February 15, members of the New Jersey State Police were dispatched to the area of mile marker 136 in the southbound lanes of the Garden State Parkway in Clark.
At that location, officials said the state troopers found Meikle’s vehicle, a Lexus, engulfed in flames near the highway’s center median, as well as Godwin’s vehicle, a Range Rover, which had overturned on the shoulder.
Police said Meikle was rushed to RWJ University Hospital in Rahway, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 3:35 a.m., while Godwin wastransported to University Hospital in Newark for emergency treatment.
An investigation involving members of the State Police and the Union County Homicide Task Force revealed that Godwin had struck Meikle from behind at a high rate of speed, causing the collision, and when a good Samaritan motorist pulled over to offer assistance, Godwin requested that he be transported away from the scene, indicating that he was prepared to offer an unspecified reward in exchange.
Godwin has since been discharged from the hospital and lodged in the Union County Jail pending a first appearance and detention hearing scheduled to take place in Union County Superior Court.
“I would like to commend the hard work of our Homicide Task Force and our partners at the New Jersey State Police, under the leadership of Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, which allowed us to quickly bring charges in this terrible incident,” acting Prosecutor Ruotolo said.