NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The man charged in the hit and run death of a New Brunswick man last month looked on the internet for replacement parts for his damaged car later that morning, the prosecuting attorney said Friday.
Daquan White, 26, of North Brunswick, parked his 2001 Acura CL Coupe in the backyard of a house in Franklin Township in Somerset and then attempted to sell the car while police searched for it, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Keith Abrams said in Superior Court.
Police responding to a 911 call at about 12:40 a.m. on April 20 found Anthony Cruz-Medina, 22, dead on Livingston Avenue. Cruz-Medina had suffered head and leg injuries.
White has been charged with vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a fatal crash, tampering with evidence and two counts of hindering apprehension.
At one point during the detention hearing, Judge Michael Toto referenced that if White were found guilty of the charges, he could be facing “10 years, plus” in jail.
Abrams went through the process in court Friday of how police came to identify White as the suspect.
Defense attorney Steven Altman testified that there were no eyewitnesses to the accident, but Abrams said police recovered pieces of a clear plastic with “certain identifying marks” that led them to believe it was part of a car fog light. Police checked with an engineer at Stanley Electronics who was able to identify the plastic pieces as belonging to 2001 or 2002 Acura CL Coupe.
Police, working with the Motor Vehicle Commission, got a list of all 2001 and 2002 Acura CL Coupes in the area. They were able to narrow their search down to the one registered to White.
The car was not located at White’s house, but it was later located on Hillcrest Avenue in Franklin after police got a call of a car abandoned in the backyard of a home on Hillcrest Avenue. The car had damage to the hood, bumper and driver’s side fog light. The windshield was also smashed, Abrams said.
Abrams said that as police got ready to tow the vehicle when another tow truck arrived. The driver said he was told the car was being sold and he was there to tow it away.
White at first denied knowledge of the crash, Abrams said, but he was taken into custody after a search of his cell phone revealed that he had searched the internet for replacement pieces for his fog light and hood hours after allegedly hitting and killing Cruz-Medina.
Abrams also revealed a text exchange between White and his girlfriend, who was not identified in court. White told her that “a Spanish man” had “jumped” in front of his car. She urged him to move his car out of his driveway immediately. The girlfriend, Altman said, is three months’ pregnant with White’s baby.
Toto reviewed a video of Cruz-Medina being struck and killed and said that his body was sent “sliding” down the street. Abrams said the car had been traveling at an “excessive speed” on Livingston Avenue, where the speed limit is 25 mph.
Altman, however, said it is difficult from looking at the video to tell what speed the car was traveling.
Altman said many family members were in the court to support White, who was released pending a trial. His next court date is May 31.