Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Willingboro Township Director of Public Safety Gregory Rucker announced that two people were killed yesterday as a result of a two-vehicle collision on the jug handle at Route 130 northbound and Bridgeboro Road in Willingboro Township.
The decedents were identified as Robert Stephens, 52, and his wife Janet, 50, of Burlington Township. The investigation revealed that the minivan in which they were traveling was in the jug handle waiting to cross over Route 130 onto Bridgeboro Road when it was struck by a vehicle traveling northbound at an excessive rate of speed at approximately 4:30 p.m.
That vehicle, a two-door sedan driven by Amish Patel, 29, of Delanco, entered the jug handle, lost control and crashed into the minivan. The force of the impact propelled the minivan over the guardrail and down an embankment, where it submerged into a body of water that is part of Olympia Lakes.
Multiple rescue squads and fire departments were involved in pulling Robert and Janet Stephens from the water. Life-saving efforts were unsuccessful, and they were pronounced dead last night at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County in Willingboro.
The collision is being investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Willingboro Township Police Department. Assistance was provided at the scene by the Edgewater Park Township Police Department and the New Jersey State Police.
No charges have been filed. The investigation will focus on whether criminal behavior was responsible for the collision and the subsequent deaths. Several factors are involved in forming a conclusion, including the results of toxicology tests conducted on blood drawn from Patel following the collision. Patel could also be charged with traffic summonses in municipal court.
Anyone with witnessed the collision is asked to call Burlington County Central Communications at 609-265-7113.