GARDEN STATE PARKWAY - Following the death of her passenger in a crash on the Garden State Parkway, a young woman from Middletown has been charged with aggravated manslaughter in the first degree and assault by auto in the third degree.  She also was issued motor vehicle summonses for driving while intoxicated, reckless and careless driving, and failure to maintain lane.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced that Kimberly Franklin, 20, has been charged with causing the death of one passenger and seriously injuring another in a crash on the Garden State Parkway in the early morning hours of November 26, 2018.

The deceased passenger was identified as Nicole Smith, 18, of Middletown. She was pronounced dead at the scene from the injuries she sustained in the crash.

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The other passenger, a 20-year old female, also from Middletown was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center in New Brunswick with serious injuries. The driver, Franklin, was also taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Franklin had her initial appearance in New Brunswick Superior Court today.

The crash is being investigated by Detective Anthony Giunta of the New Jersey State Police and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

The investigation determined that at approximately 1:30am on November 26, 2018, Franklin was driving a 2018 Dodge Charger, when she rear ended a 2009 Nissan Rogue on the southbound Garden State Parkway in Woodbridge Township. The Dodge proceeded to strike a guard rail and tree, then overturned causing her two passengers to be ejected from the vehicle.

A third vehicle, a 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe, struck a detached tire from the Charger. The drivers of the Nissan and the Hyundai were not injured in the crash.

The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Jonathan Berman at (732) 745-4328.

As in the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Franklin are merely accusations and she is presumed innocent until proven guilty.