Motor vehicle accidents: Man charged in fatal crash in New Jersey

Authorities believe that a 29-year-old man was under the influence of opiates while behind the wheel at the time of a serious crash on Route 23 that claimed three lives. Authorities in New Jersey arrested the man, who is now charged with aggravated manslaughter and death by auto, among other accusations. As with most fatal motor vehicle accidents, this incident is still under investigation, and more charges could be forthcoming. 

According to police, the man may have been overdosing on opiates around 8:46 a.m. the morning of Feb. 19 when he crashed his car into several vehicles parked at a gas station. The man is believed to have been traveling at a high rate of speed, as three vehicles were struck and badly damaged. A 50-year-old man and his 17-year-old son, both of whom were occupants of one of the involved vehicles, were killed in the impact. 

A 22-year-old female gas station attendant was also killed. Several other people, including the accused driver, were treated for minor injuries. The man now faces three counts of death by auto, driving while intoxicated, aggravated manslaughter and several drug-related offenses, including the possession of hypodermic needles. It is unknown whether he has retained counsel at this time. 

The tragedy of motor vehicle accidents of this severity cannot be overstated. If convicted of the charges filed against him, the man could face serious prison time. Separately, the families of the deceased victims and any injured parties are entitled under New Jersey law to file wrongful death and/or personal injury lawsuits against him in civil court. These suits are not criminal in nature and are not contingent upon criminal conviction to be won, though evidence gathered by police to support the criminal case may be offered to prove negligence in any civil cases that may arise. 

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