A woman from Toms River may face only six years behind bars in connection to the death of man in February 2022.

On Monday, 32-year-old Ashley Beams pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide for killing 62-year-old James Cruz of Old Bridge Township.

On the night of February 8th, 2022, Cruz was struck by a vehicle being driven by Beams.

According to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office,

Beams had been traveling eastbound on Bay Avenue approaching the cross street of Twin Oaks Drive. Shortly after passing Twin Oaks Drive, Beams failed to maintain her lane of travel and entered the shoulder - striking Mr. Cruz, who at the time was retrieving a package from the trunk of his vehicle. As a result of the collision, Mr. Cruz was pinned between the two vehicles and carried a significant distance eastbound on Bay Avenue.

Cruz died at the scene.

Bay and Twin Oaks in Toms River NJ - Photo: Google Maps
Bay and Twin Oaks in Toms River NJ - Photo: Google Maps
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Beams was taken to a local hospital for treatment. While there, a blood sample was taken which eventually determined Beams' blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the crash, "was substantially higher than .08," which is the legal limit in New Jersey.

About a week later, Beams was arrested, processed, taken to the Ocean County Jail, and then released per state bail reform guidelines.

At the time of her sentencing on September 15th, the State will be seeking a term of six years in state prison.

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