The 18-year-old driver of a car that crashed into a wooded area off Yellowbank Road last month, killing another teen, was arrested and charged Monday with vehicular homicide, prosecutors said.
Connor P. Hanifin, 18, is charged in connection with the death of Francis Duddy, 19, who was his passenger during the early morning hours of Feb. 8, when the crash occurred.
According to a joint statement from Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato and Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little, a blood alcohol test performed on Hanifin showed he was above the legal limit at the time the accident occurred. Also, during the investigation of the scene Toms River police officers observed alcoholic beverage containers in the vehicle, the statement said.
Hanifin is also suspected of having operated his Honda Civic at an unsafe speed while traveling west on Yellowbank. He ultimately lost control of the car, hitting a stand of trees at the end of a cul-de-sac. When officers arrived, police said, the front end of the vehicle was resting on the ground with the roof of the vehicle against the trees and the trunk pointing towards the sky.
Hanifin had to be extricated from the vehicle by rescuers and was airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center; Duddy was pronounced dead at the scene by the Ocean County Medical Examiner.
Prosecutors say Hanifin was arrested at the Toms River Police Department headquarters Monday afternoon, where he was also processed for a traffic warrant out of Galloway Township.
Bail was set at $75,000 cash by Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels. Hanifin will most likely satisfy bail to appear at a future court proceeding, the statement said. There was no record of Hanifin being lodged in the Ocean County Jail.
Senior Assistant Prosecutor Michael Weatherstone filed the charges. Hanifin is being represented by Steven Seacare of Toms River.