A Toms River man has been charged by police in connection with a hit-and-run accident that left Jesus Lopez-Grande, 15, of Lakewood, dead on the shoulder of Oak Street. Alexander Politan, 31, of Toms River, is facing numerous charges stemming from the case.
Lakewood Police were called to Oak Street, south of Albert Avenue in Lakewood at about 9:20 p.m. Friday for a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle. Lopez-Grande and his father, Jesus Lopez-Ramirez, 37, also of Lakewood, were walking near the shoulder portion of Oak Street when they were struck by a vehicle. Lopez-Ramirez sustained an injury to his elbow while Lopez-Grande was found lying face down in the driveway of a home on Oak Street. He suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to a statement issued by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Tuesday night, an investigation revealed vehicle debris was left at the scene. Detectives determined from the vehicle debris that vehicle parts located at the crash scene belonged to a black 2014 Jeep Cherokee.
At that time, the Lakewood Police Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Fatal Accident Support Team and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office launched an extensive search to locate the vehicle, said OCPO spokesman Bryan Huntenberg. On Sunday, Oct. 6, a black Jeep Cherokee matching the description of the suspect vehicle was located in the driveway of an unoccupied residence on New Hampshire Avenue in Toms River. The black Jeep Cherokee had damage to the passenger side, police said, and a search warrant was obtained for the vehicle.
The investigation by detectives and local police revealed that Politan was operating the vehicle when it struck Jesus Lopez-Grande and Jesus Lopez-Grande, the statement said. Politan was physically located and arrested Tuesday. He was processed at Lakewood Township Police headquarters and transported to the Ocean County Jail where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.
“Although Mr. Politan is in custody, this remains an ongoing investigation,” Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said. “If anyone has any information concerning this investigation, I ask that you please call the Lakewood Police Department at 732-363-0200 or Detective Michael Proto of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027.”
Toms River police assisted in the investigation.
Politan is charged with causing the death of another while driving on a suspended license and knowingly leaving the scene of a fatal accident.