Update: Charges filed in South Toms River hit-run, victim critical
The driver suspected of running down a bicyclist in South Toms River before sunrise today turned himself in to police several hours later, and the victim remains hospitalized.
According to information from the office of Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, Antonio S. Rodrigues, 85, of South Toms River, told borough police that he heard an impact but believed he had hit a deer. He's currently charged with leaving the scene of a crash and failing to report an accident.
The 48-year-old woman who was bicycling in the area of Route 9 and Dover Road was found by police, a few minutes before 4 AM, on the ramp to the Garden State Parkway. She was flown to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where she is listed in critical but stable condition.
The victim sustained a closed head injury, fractured pelvis, and fractured right ankle, and underwent surgery, authorities said.
Investigators used shards of Rodrigues's vehicle to narrow down their search to a Ford Aerostar built between 1992 and 1997, and issued bulletins to surrounding law enforcement agencies. They found his 1995 Aerostar at his home after he had turned himself in, and towed it to the Ocean County Sheriff's garage pending a search warrant.
Rodrigues consented to a blood test and was found not to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, authorities said, adding that his license and registration were valid.
According to authorities, Rodrigues explained that he was driving to the Route 70 Flea Market in Lakewood to set up his stand. He acknowledged hearing a "boom" as he entered the Parkway, but thinking it was a deer, didn't stop.
Chatter he heard at the flea market about a pedestrian hit near the Parkway led him to suspect that he was involved, at which point he packed up, drove home, and walked to police headquarters, authorities said.