Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and City of Burlington Police Chief Alan Snow announced today that a man whose passenger died after the car he was driving went into the Delaware River yesterday has been charged in connection with her death.
Jacob T. Garrett, 24, of the 100 block of Stacy Court in Burlington City, was charged with Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident (Second Degree), Causing Death while Driving with Suspended License (Third Degree) and Endangering an Injured Victim (Third Degree).
He was lodged in the Burlington County Jail. A first appearance will be scheduled soon in Superior Court in Mount Holly.
The decedent was identified as Stephanie White, 23, of Burlington City. Witnesses to the crash who rushed over to the scene indicated Garrett was already out of the vehicle by the time they arrived. “Help my girlfriend,” witnesses reported Garrett as telling them before he fled.
City of Burlington police used K-9 Officer Kobi to track Garrett from the river to the Burlington Towne Center North light rail platform on West Broad Street. Police then had the train stopped at the Beverly/Edgewater Park station, where Garrett was located by officers from the Beverly City, Edgewater Park and City of Burlington police departments.
The investigation revealed that Garrett was traveling at a high rate of speed along Riverbank Road when his vehicle struck a parked minivan before vaulting over the river wall and into the water near Wood Street just before 1 p.m.
The front end of the car broke through the ice. White was found submerged in water with her seat belt still on. She was extricated by emergency workers and transported to Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County in Willingboro, where she was pronounced dead.
The investigation is ongoing and additional criminal charges are possible. Garrett also faces several motor vehicle summonses.
The investigation is being conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office and City of Burlington Police Department. The lead investigators are BCPO Detective Tony Luyber and City of Burlington Police Detective Corporal Anna Czajka.
The case will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Thaddeus E. Drummond, who oversees the BCPO Collision and Analysis Reconstruction Unit.
Rescue agencies responding to the scene included the Burlington City Fire Department, Burlington Township Fire Department, Endeavor Emergency Squad and Croydon (Pa.) Fire Company.