Fort Lee man hits woman with vehicle, claims she fell and leaves the scene
A 23-year-old Fort Lee man struck a 65-year-old woman with his vehicle before stopping to help her last week. He carried her into a nearby apartment building and told people she had fallen and to call an ambulance. According to reports, the man was backing his 2011 Volkswagon Jetta up in a parking lot when he struck the woman who suffered a serious head injury. The victim was taken to the Englewood Hospital for treatment. Police began searching for the defendant and found him the next day. He was charged with hindering apprehension, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident with personal injury, along with several other traffic violations. He was taken to the Bergen County Jail on $5,000 bail.
Leaving the scene of an accident can be a criminal and/or motor vehicle violation in New Jersey. The criminal charge is governed by N.J.S. 2C:12-1.1 which provides:
§ 2C:12-1.1. Knowingly leaving scene of motor vehicle accident resulting in serious bodily injury, third degree crime
A motor vehicle operator who knows he is involved in an accident and knowingly leaves the scene of that accident under circumstances that violate the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-129 shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree if the accident results in serious bodily injury to another person. The presumption of non-imprisonment set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1 shall not apply to persons convicted under the provisions of this section.
If the evidence so warrants, nothing in this section shall be deemed to preclude an indictment and conviction for aggravated assault or assault by auto under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1.
Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:1-8 or any other provisions of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction for aggravated assault or assault by auto under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 and a separate sentence shall be imposed upon each conviction.
Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:44-5 or any other provisions of law, whenever in the case of such multiple convictions the court imposes multiple sentences of imprisonment for more than one offense, those sentences shall run consecutively.
For the purposes of this section, neither knowledge of the serious bodily injury nor knowledge of the violation are elements of the offense and it shall not be a defense that the driver of the motor vehicle was unaware of the serious bodily injury or provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-129.
The defendant in this case is facing a third degree crime which includes three (3) to five (5) years in state prison if convicted.