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UPDATE: NJ Man Sentenced to Prison for Fleeing Scene of Fatal Crash

Ocean County

By: Najla Alexander 

Authorities in Atlantic County announced that on May 3, Angel Garcia-Rodriguez, 26, of Lakewood, was sentenced by the Honorable Kenneth T. Palmer, J.S.C., to five years in New Jersey State Prison as a result of his previously entered guilty plea to Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Crash Resulting in a Death.

AdOcean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said in connection with a motor vehicle crash that occurred in the early morning hours of July 22, 2023, in Lakewood Township. Garcia-Rodriguez pled guilty to the charge before Judge Palmer on March 8.

Officials stated that on July 22, 2023, at approximately 2:25 a.m., Officers from the Lakewood Township Police Department responded to the area of James Street for a report of a serious motor vehicle crash.

Responding Officers found that a 2007 Honda Civic had struck a utility pole, officials say.

According to officials, officers also discovered that the driver of the vehicle had fled the scene of the crash and found a critically injured male victim in the passenger seat of the vehicle.

The male victim was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, officials said, where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

Officials say an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Vehicular Homicide Unit and Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau 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.AdAuthorities say the investigation further revealed that Garcia-Rodriguez was the operator of the vehicle at the time of the crash and that he had fled the scene before police arrived.

Garcia-Rodriguez was ultimately located at a residence in Lakewood and taken into custody without incident, according to officials. 

Officials said Garcia-Rodriguez was then transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he has been detained since July 22, 2023.