WOMAN RESPONSIBLE FOR HIT-AND-RUN DEATH IS FOUND

After completing a hunt for the driver and investigation, a woman has been arrested for causing the death of a Middletown teen after a July 7 accident. Toni Ann Marletta, 49, of the Leonardo neighborhood of Middletown, is believed to be responsible for striking and killing a 15-year-old girl from Atlantic Highlands. At about 8:30 p.m. on the evening of July 7, Marletta is believed to have been driving a light gray compact car on Route 36, traveling west, near Avenue D. The girl was attempting to cross Route 36 when Marletta is alleged to have hit her. The girl was hospitalized at the Jersey Shore Medical Center, but ultimately succumbed to her injuries the following day, according to Monmouth County Police. Using witness reports of the type of car involved in the accident, Middletown police searched the city for the light gray compact, ultimately finding one with damage consistent with the accident, in front of the home of Marletta. While Marletta was immediately taken in for questioning, she was released until a further investigation could be completed. Marletta was arrested several days later in Hazlet for the crash. The current charges she faces include leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, failing to have auto insurance, failing to report a motor vehicle accident, having unsafe tires, and leaving the scene of a fatal accident, which could alone result in five to ten years in prison. Marletta is being held in Monmouth County Jail, Freehold Township, on $150,000 bail. 

Mere yards away from where the girl was hit, two women sat on the patio of a local restaurant and were witness to the tragic accident. The witnesses report that traffic on the highway had a red light when the girl crossed Route 36, and believed that she had the right of way while crossing. The witnesses speculated that Marletta was attempting to beat the red light, explaining why she was speeding. 

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