NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A second man has been arrested in connection with the fatal accident in which a New Brunswick vice principal was struck and killed by one of several drivers who authorities say were drag racing on Stelton Road in Piscataway last Saturday,
Sohjah Powell-Warner, 21, of Piscataway, who was identified as managing a Facebook page and Instagram account for the car club "78 Imports," was charged with two counts of hindering law enforcement, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said today.
Authorities said members of the club were drag racing on Stelton Road when vice principal, Tyrone Harrison, 49, of the Somerset section of Franklin Township, was walking to a relative's home and was struck by one of the cars.
Carey said Powell-Warner, purposely altered the Facebook page and Instagram posts of “78 Imports” to hinder the police investigation of the crash which occurred when multiple vehicles were illegally street racing on the road in Piscataway about 9:15 p.m. last Saturday. Authorities said the club had planned a meet up that night.
Noting that Middlesex County has the highest number of auto fatalities in the state, Carey said his office will add street racing to the other dangerous driving activities that police are working to stop.
"We are targeting drunk driving, drugged driving, distracted driving, and now we are targeting street racing. Illegal street racing has no place here, and we will be going after the organizations responsible for it," he said.
His comments came moments after the first court appearance of Freddy S. Garcia, 21, of Piscataway, who authorities say was driving an unregistered, uninsured 2003 Honda Accord when he lost control of the car and struck and fatally injured Harrison.
Authorities said Garcia abandoned the car and fled, later reporting the vehicle stolen.
Garcia, who faces charges of aggravated manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal accident, in addition to 12 motor vehicle summonses. appeared before Judge Michael Dowgin via a video connection from the Middlesex County Corrections Center where the suspect is being held.
Wearing glasses and a jail-issued green shirt and pants, Garcia said hello to the judge but nothing else. Dowgin said that Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Keith Abrams filed a motion to have Garcia remain in jail. A hearing on that motion is set for Oct. 19.
Carey, speaking after the hearing, thanked news media outlets for publicizing the case, which resulted in people calling law enforcement officers with tips that led to Garcia's arrest.
The prosecutor said "78 Imports" met last Saturday night to street race on Stelton Avenue.
"Meetings with cars in anticipation that they can race down the street as fast as they could go on a rainy Saturday night, anything like that we need to discourage," Carey said.
Police are continuing to investigate the case, and Carey said additional arrests are probable.
Authorities ask that anyone with information about this case call Piscataway police Officer Meredith Robbins at (732) 562-7652 or Detective Jonathan Berman of the prosecutor's office at (732) 745-4328.
Harrison had been in the New Brunswick schools since 2001, first at a special education teacher and later as a high school vice principal.
A funeral service will be held Monday at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset.