A Toms River man who was reportedly “wandering” in and out of the lanes of Route 37 on foot was killed after being struck by a vehicle early Tuesday morning, police said.
Joseph L. Witty Jr. 39 of Toms River, was walking south across Route 37 East when he was struck. According to police, officers were dispatched to the area of Route 37 E and Marian Street at about 5:45 a.m. after receiving calls reporting a man wandering in the street in the westbound lanes. Moments later, dispatchers received another call that a pedestrian was struck in the eastbound lanes of the highway.
Upon the officers’ arrival, they located the pedestrian, identified as Witty, deceased in the shoulder of Route 37’s eastbound lanes, and the involved vehicle in the parking lot of the nearby Pine Belt Nissan car dealership.
According to a statement from police, the investigation showed that witty was walking south across Route 37 East and was nearly struck by passing vehicles in the westbound lanes. As he continued over the median and back onto the highway he was struck by an oncoming vehicle. The driver was traveling eastbound in the right lane of Route 37. Evidence on scene “indicated that Mr. Witty was in the travel lane when he was struck, and not in a crosswalk, or on the shoulder.”
There was no indication of cell phone use or impairment by the driver at the time of the crash, police said.
The accident is under investigation by Toms River Traffic Safety Officer Adam Koeppen. Also assisting on scene was the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, and the New Jersey State DOT Diversion Team. There are no charges against the driver.