TOMS RIVER — An incredible coincidence led to the arrest of a 73-year-old woman in a fatal hit-and-run the night before Thanksgiving.

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said Maxine Pickard, 73, of Berkeley Township, struck and killed John Ekarius, 34, of nearby Dover Woods, late on Tuesday, Nov. 22 on Route 70.

The crash happened on the westbound lane near Route 9 in Toms River. Pickard drove away from the accident in her daughter's 2009 Blue Nissan Altima, officials said.

After she was hit, Ekasius was struck again by several other vehicles, according to Coronato. All those drivers stopped and remained at the scene.

During their investigation, the Prosecutor's Office enlisted the help of Al Picker of All Time Automotive in Point Pleasant who helped to initially identify the Nissan.

Two days later, as Picker drove on the Garden State Parkway to his Thanksgiving dinner, he spotted an Altima with damage consistent with the vehicle involved in the crash.

Coronato described the coincidence as "miraculous."

Ocean County Prosecutor's Det. Brad Frank and State Police tracked the vehicle to Iris Drive in Neptune.

Pickard turned herself into police Friday afternoon and was charged with knowingly leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident resulting in death, a second-degree crime. She was released on $50,000 bail.

Ekarius was born in Point Pleasant and lived in the Brick area for most of his life. He was laid to rest earlier this week.

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