Wrong driver blamed in fatal South Amboy wrong-way crash
SOUTH AMBOY — Investigators say they initially pinned the blame of an Easter Sunday double-fatal crash on the wrong driver.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey on Tuesday acknowledged that investigators initially got it wrong about the Route 9 crash — a vindication for the family of the deceased driver who investigators had initially blamed.
"After reviewing evidence acquired during the investigation, it has been determined that Miguel Mendoza-Chong, 31, of Perth Amboy, and not Percell Livingston Jr., 51 of East Orange, was driving the wrong way on Route 9 north when their minivans crashed head on in South Amboy," Carey said in a statement.
Mendoza-Chong and Livingston were both pronounced dead at the scene. Three passengers in Mendoza-Chong's car were hospitalized.
From the start, Livingston's son Jevohan disputed the prosecutor's initial account of the crash, saying that his father had not been fatigued or intoxicated or driving the wrong way, and claimed that a police car had also been involved in the wreck.
Carey said the new evidence included statements from "additional witnesses and video," he declined to release because they are part of the ongoing investigation.
New Jersey 101.5 last week asked the Prosecutor's Office about Livingston's claim of a cop car being involved, but officials have not responded.
In the days after the crash, New Jersey 101.5 used the Open Public Records Act to request copies of the dashcam video and police calls related to the incident. But Carey's office on Tuesday said they would not be releasing the footage. Authorities have not responded to the request for the calls.
On the day of the crash, Jevohan Livingston emailed New Jersey 101.5 what he said was a "witness statement of a parked onlooker" at the Amboy Motel who claimed that he saw Mendoza drive into Livingston's car.
The alleged witness, who New Jersey 101.5 was not able to independently reach in order to confirm his statement, said the car driven by Mendoza was going the wrong way when it hit Livingston's van.
Livingston did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday. New Jersey 101.5 was unable to find a phone number for Mendoza-Chong's relatives.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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