EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - A March 16 hit-and-run in East Brunswick involving a 17-year-old male jogger kicked off a media-induced search for the driver. The incident occurred at 9:54 p.m. when the teen was running south on Old Bridge Turnpike. The driver did not stop after the impact threw the youngster to the ground, leaving the scene of the accident. Responding officers recovered a broken portion of the passenger-side bumper. It was the only clue to identifying the offending vehicle.
The East Brunswick Investigative Division and Special Operations Division, including Detective Michael Smith, Detective John Breen and Patrolman James Angermeier, worked to discover the make, model and approximate year of the vehicle involved in the March 16 hit-and-run. The officers then reached out to local media and social media venues with the details, sending the call out for a champagne or gold-colored Dodge Intrepid that was most likely manufactured between the years of 1998 -2004. Their combined efforts resulted in an arrest on Thursday, March 30.
According to a Nixle advisory released by the East Brunswick Police Department on Wednesday, April 5, officers from the Investigative Division and Special Operations Division found the much sought-after vehicle. The officers then conducted an interview with the driver who was identified by the EBPD as Stefanie Susinno. Susinno is 33 years of age and a resident of South River. She was charged with assault by auto and endangering an injured person. In addition, Susinno was issued several motor vehicles violations, including leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report.
East Brunswick Police Chief James Conroy offered his thanks to area residents in the April 5 Nixle advisory, saying that the public's response was crucial in identifying the vehicle involved in the March 16 hit-and-run. The department received numerous tips that ultimately led to the discovery of the vehicle and the driver.
In 2014, more than 60,000 pedestrians were injured nationwide in traffic incidents according to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A recent report indicated that statistics show pedestrian deaths are on the rise as well. In a report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Administration, data noted that there were almost 6,000 traffic-related pedestrian deaths in 2016. The total marked the highest in 20 years.