RARITAN (SOMERSET COUNTY), NJ - A Raritan man has been charged with vehicular homicide after police say his truck struck a mother and her two children on the sidewalk after he lost control of his vehicle, careening off other vehicles parked on Anderson Street.
A one-year-old boy was killed, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.
The Prosecutor's Office provided the following account:
Ronald B. Rebernik, 62, of Second Street, has been charged with second degree vehicular homicide, two counts of third degree assault by auto, third degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance and a disorderly persons offense of being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance. He was also issued motor vehicle summonses for driving while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated in a school zone, careless driving, reckless driving and having a controlled dangerous substance in a motor vehicle.
The Raritan Police Department responded to the area of Anderson Street and Second Street at about 7:18 p.m. Saturday for a report of a motor vehicle crash that involved several pedestrians.
Robertson said they found a motor vehicle had struck several parked cars and three pedestrians who were walking on the sidewalk. The injuries to the pedestrians, Robertson said, were deemed life-threatening, and they were treated by first responders at the scene before being taken to area hospitals by Medics and Medevac.
The investigation revealed, Robertson said, that Rebernik was driving a 2004 Ford Escape southbound on Anderson Street when he crossed to the northbound side, struck two parked cars, left the roadway and continued southbound on the sidewalk where he struck the three pedestrians. Rebernik, Robertson said, then continued southbound on the sidewalk and re-entered the roadway where he hit two more parked cars on the northbound side of Anderson Street before being disabled.
The victims were a 36-year-old Raritan Borough woman, who was walking northbound on the sidewalk with her 5-year-old son and pushing her 1-year-old son in a stroller. The 36-year-old woman suffered serious injuries and the 5-year-old suffered critical injuries, Robertson said, and both remain hospitalized.
The 1-year-old victim, Robertson said, was medevac'd from the scene, and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Rebernik was taken to an area hospital, and he remains under police guard. Once he is released from the hospital, Robertson said, Rebernik will be taken to Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office at 908-231-7100 or the Raritan Borough Police Department at 908-725-6700. Anonymous reports can also be made via the STOPit app, which can downloaded in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store with access code SOMERSETNJ.
Information can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers' Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS or online at www.888577tips.org. All anonymous tips will be kept confidential.