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Cops: Lakewood Driver Left Passenger to Die in His Seat After Accident

Angel Garcia-Rodriguez (Photo: Ocean County Jail)

Angel Garcia-Rodriguez (Photo: Ocean County Jail)

Authorities in Ocean County say a Lakewood man bolted from his vehicle after a crash early Saturday morning and left his friend in the passenger seat with severe injuries from which he would not recover.

Angel Garcia-Rodriguez, 26, of Lakewood, was charged with leaving the scene of a motor vehicle crash resulting in a death, as well as endangering an injured victim, in connection with a motor vehicle crash that occurred at approximately 2:25 a.m. on James Street.

Responding officers, according to a statement from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, arrived on scene and found that a 2007 Honda Civic had struck a utility pole. Officers also discovered that the driver of the vehicle had fled the scene of the crash, and located a critically injured male victim in the passenger seat of the vehicle. The male victim was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

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An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau revealed that the Honda Civic was traveling westbound on James Street when it lost directional control and struck the utility pole on the passenger side door, the statement said. The investigation, according to authorities, further revealed that Garcia-Rodriguez was the operator of the vehicle at the time of the crash, and that he had fled the scene before police arrived.

Garcia-Rodriguez was ultimately located at a residence in Lakewood and taken into custody without incident. He was thereafter transported to Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus, in Lakewood, where a court-authorized sample of his blood was taken. Garcia-Rodriguez was then transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.

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