Authorities say that a Neptune woman was responsible for causing a car accident that claimed the life of her passenger and left three others injured recently. The woman, who was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the crash, is now facing charges including death by auto and assault by auto, which may lead to a lengthy term of incarceration if she is ultimately found guilty.
According to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, 38-year-old Neptune resident Nakoma Jones was intoxicated while driving a 2009 Lincoln MKS in Old Bridge at approximately 3:38 a.m. on Sunday, September 6th. After allegedly crossing into oncoming traffic, her vehicle struck a 2011 Sonata in a head-on collision.
The tragic results of the crash were staggering, as 30-year-old Neptune resident Gustavo Rodriguez, who was a rear passenger in Jones’ vehicle, was declared deceased at the scene. The 36-year-old Asbury Park woman who was riding in Jones’ front seat was injured but released from the hospital after receiving medical care. The driver of the other vehicle, a 19-year-old from Cedar Grove, is still being treated at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
As for Jones, she also remains hospitalized, but her bail has been set at $160,000. She is now facing serious criminal charges, which are likely accompanied by motor vehicle summonses including driving while intoxicated (DWI). Among the crimes for which she is accused, death by auto is typically a second degree felony, governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5a. According to this statute, if the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when committing this violation, he or she must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment with a mandatory minimum period of parole ineligibility set at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, or three years, whichever is greater.
In addition to the criminal charges against her, Jones may also be exposed to civil litigation in the form of a personal injury lawsuit from one of the surviving victims or a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of the deceased. Although nothing can rectify the damage that this type of tragedy causes to those involved, a court may award damages to compensate for medical or funeral expenses, rehabilitative care, and/or pain and suffering. It must be determined, however, that Jones was responsible for causing the accident, and thus, should be held liable for the devastating results. Our firm’s personal injury team conducts its own investigation in cases like these in order to ensure that no stone is left unturned when identifying a responsible party.
For additional information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Neptune woman was driving drunk in crash that killed passenger, cops say