MOUNT HOLLY – Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced today that a man whose passenger died after the car he was driving broke through a fence and sank in the Delaware River earlier this year has been indicted for causing her death.
A Burlington County Grand Jury returned an indictment today that charged Jacob T. Garrett, 25, with Vehicular Homicide (First Degree), Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident (Second Degree), Causing Death while Driving with a Suspended License (Third Degree) and Endangering an Injured Victim (Third Degree).
An arraignment will be scheduled soon in Superior Court in Mount Holly. The charges are based in part on the results of toxicology tests performed on blood drawn from Garrett, who remains lodged in the Burlington County Jail.
The January 14 crash killed Stephanie White, 23, of Burlington City. Witnesses who rushed to the scene indicated Garrett was already out of the vehicle by the time they arrived. “Help my girlfriend,” witnesses reported Garrett telling them before he fled.
City of Burlington Patrolman Charles Haney and his K-9 partner Kobi tracked 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 crashing through a fence near Wood Street.
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. An autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood determined that her death was caused by drowning and hypothermia.
Garrett is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Thaddeus E. Drummond, supervisor of the BCPO Collision and Analysis Reconstruction Unit. 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.