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UPDATE: 19-Year-Old Rutgers Student Charged in Hit and Run

Police said suspect returned to South Brunswick High School after alleged hit and run and did classroom observations.

4:30 p.m.

Police charged a 19-year-old college student from South Brunswick, who was conducting classroom observations at South Brunswick High School, in this morning's hit and run.

Shivangi Patel, a student at Rutgers University, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with serious injuries, endangering the welfare of an injured victim, and numerous additional motor vehicle violations. 

According to police, Patel was headed north in a 2009 Nissan Altima near the driveway in front of the main Ridge Road entrance to SBHS, when she allegedly struck a female 14-year-old high school sophomore, who was walking in the crosswalk on Stouts Lane from the parking lot into the school.

The victim was knocked onto the hood of the Altima and then hit the windshield of the car. Patel allegedly continued to drive off from the scene towards First Avenue, according to police.

The victim was transported by South Brunswick EMS to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. She suffered a severe concussion and a fractured clavicle, police said. The victim was expected to be released from the hospital later this evening.

Following the incident, investigators worked with school officials to review the videotape of the hit and run, while also interviewing numerous witnesses.

South Brunswick Police spokesman Sgt. Jim Ryan said the collision caused parts of the Altima to be left at the crash scene. Police then took the parts to officials at Acme Nissan, who said the parts came from a 2007-09 Nissan Altima.

Sgt. Ken Drost was able to locate the suspect vehicle parked about two blocks away from the school. Police said the vehicle had significant damage to the passenger side of the car and had a hole in the windshield.

According to police, Patel was conducting class observations at the high school and had pulled into the SBHS parking lot looking for a spot to park her car. She allegedly struck the student before driving two blocks and parking her vehicle.

Patel then allegedly had her father drive her back to the school, where she signed in and did her class observation, according to police. 

Sgt. Ryan said she was arrested near a township residence shortly after 2 p.m.

Patel's bail was set at $2,500. Sgt. Ryan said no charges have been filed yet against Patel's father.

"This driver ran down this student as she was only feet from the school," said Chief Raymond Hayducka. "Sgt. Ken Drost was determined to track this driver down. He showed tremendous determination in piecing together all aspects of this crash investigation and locating the driver. His efforts reflect the best of our agency."

***

2 p.m.

South Brunswick Police have arrested a suspect in this morning's hit and run incident at South Brunswick High School. Police spokesman Sgt. Jim Ryan said the suspect was arrested at a township residence shortly after 2 p.m.

The suspect was identified as a female college student, but no further information was available.

This story will be updated as information becomes available.

***

11:45 a.m.

A female student of South Brunswick High School was struck by a car while she was walking to school early this morning in a hit and run incident.

South Brunswick Police spokesman Sgt. Jim Ryan said the student had just been dropped off by her father at 7:25 a.m. and was crossing Stouts Lane using a crosswalk. At that point, a black sedan struck the student near the Ridge Road side of Stouts Lane, according to Sgt. Ryan. The sedan then fled the scene towards First Avenue.

"We do have some video images from the school and we're working with school officials at this time," Sgt. Ryan said. "We're asking for the person to come forward and turn themselves in. They may have panicked after they did it, but we need them to come forward so we can resolve this."

The student was taken to the emergency room of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick for non-life threatening injuries.

Sgt. Ryan said dozens of students witnessed the hit and run and police are currently tracking a number of leads.

SBHS Principal Tim Matheney sent out an email alert to parents Friday afternoon about the incident.

"The student is recovering from injuries, and the student's parents are hopeful for a release from the hospital soon," he said. "In response to the situation, a team of officers from the South Brunswick Police Department and high school administration have been collaborating on a very aggressive investigation throughout the day. Police and administrators have interviewed a number of eyewitnesses, and our surveillance camera footage has been reviewed."

Matheney added that the high school Administrative Team and the police department will again review traffic safety measures.

Drivers on school property are reminded of the following:

  • It is imperative that drivers observe the posted speed limit of 15 mph.
  • It is imperative that drivers avoid distracted driving (no texting, etc.) on campus and whenever operating their vehicles.  

"I personally have observed individuals, including parents, driving on campus while talking on a cell phone, and it frustrates me greatly," Matheney said.

  • It is imperative that drivers -- especially at drop-off and pick-up times -- be observant especially when approaching crosswalks.

Anyone with information should call South Brunswick Police at 732-329-4646 ext. 5202.

leet. April 17, 2012 at 08:36 AM
Nobody cares about your idiotic comments, Jack. Can we get back to the story, please? A young girl was put in the hospital because some moron couldn't be bothered to (clearly) drive anywhere near the speed limit, and you're busy calling anonymous people dolts (way to be relevant, btw) and pretending you're better than everyone. It's time to shut up.
Winston April 17, 2012 at 10:13 AM
Sunil...a petition is a waste of time. Three are laws and they need to be followed. Unlike what's happening to the poor Zimmerman guy....we need tomreect the law.
Winston April 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM
Leet a future NjEA member and democrat was aided by another democrat in a effort to hide a crime...nuff said.
Jack Wagon April 17, 2012 at 12:18 PM
The guy who moved about as far away from NJ as he could because he doesn't like our attitudes and thinks we are all selfish is lecturing us on being tolerant of others. Maybe it's you who has the problem. And yes, it could have happened to any driver of any race, but I think 99% of the people of any and every race in NJ would have immediately stopped or at the very least, turned themselves in soon thereafter if their initial reaction was panic.
Sunil Jain April 17, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Involving politics, race and other topics which has nothing to do with the issue in discussion is a real waste of everyone's time. This is an example of crime committed by an individual and LAW should take it own course and should be applied equally. To make this discussion meaningful and serve a good purpose, lets think what should be done next so that our community is safer and better.
John Smith April 17, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Race has everything to do with this, I live in South Brunswick, every time I see a car speeding or cutting someone off, 90% of the time they are Indian, it's quite funny really, even in the complex that I live, my son will be playing outside and every single person that speeds into the parking lot is an indian, THEY NEED TO SLOW DOWN, YOU'RE NOT IN INDIA ANYMORE.
Sunil Jain April 17, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Discussing an issue with people who clealy have bias and have preconceived beliefs is pointless. They will only see and hear what they believe. For this unfortunate episode, I would pray for injured student to recover at the earliest, Law to act as it should and Community to find solution and take next steps so that such incidents should not happen again.
Judy Walters April 17, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I have to say that I'm really bothered by the comments about race..this was an one person who made a terrible choice.
jeepchick April 17, 2012 at 10:42 PM
They have no re-morse on anything that they do and she should be kicked out of Rutgers and teaching hope not. I would make sure she never taught my kids. Yes she and her father are both now clueless. Her father should have bail set since his the stupid person who brought her back to the school oh wait must not miss any school. I'm too smart. Oh that's right you all think your better than anyone.
Theresa Parrish April 18, 2012 at 02:43 AM
I never heard of a hit and run bail being ONLY $2,500! She hit a child. If someone hit my child and took off I would be pressing charges. She is lucky that girl is ok and it didn't kill her. As, for the father... who knows what she told him... She needs to face time over this and not become a teacher please!
morrigan April 18, 2012 at 02:47 AM
There is a psychological phenomenon called denial. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial It happens when a person is faced with a fact so overwhelming that they reject it, minimize it, or refuse to accept responsibility for it. Most 19 year olds, despite their age, are not adults yet. As Judy said, Shivangi Patel made a terrible choice. She hurt someone; she did not stop to help, but ran away. But the name-calling and the epithets flung at her (presumably by adults) in these comments are probably unfair. Somebody in denial would be likely to do exactly what she did, right through to going into the classes she was supposed to observe. I have no idea why -- or even if -- her father didn't confront her about the damage to her car. We don't know what she told him about the car. We do know that he did what most parents would do if their kids couldn't get to school on their own -- he made sure she got to school. I guess we're all entitled to our opinions -- that's what these comments seem to be about. (Even if we do not know all the facts.) But expressing our concerns through name calling and stone throwing and saying racist things does not speak well for any of us.
SBHS Dad April 18, 2012 at 03:18 AM
This is where someone is supposed to point out that denial is a river in Egypt.
william kramer April 18, 2012 at 01:49 PM
sigh...
SBHSMom April 18, 2012 at 02:08 PM
LOL!
SBHSMom April 18, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Bob, not a racist! But given that she may or may not be legal, that should be checked. I just read that there will be another arrest in the incident. I hope it is the dad!!!!! BTW, she signed in and was actually observing a class which the kid who was hit was supposed to be in! I am sure the teacher mentioned that and this idiot 19 year old just sat there and heard about it! She is useless and I hope she gets kicked out of Rutgers and not allowed to work, go to school, or receive public assistance EVER!
SBHSMom April 18, 2012 at 02:12 PM
BRAVO!
SBHSMom April 18, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Exactly! If it were an Indian kid who was hit, the Indian community would probably claim racial bias!!!!
SBHSMom April 18, 2012 at 02:16 PM
If my kid claimed a wrecked car, I would want FULL details of when, where and how! And if she hit a deer, I would want to know where it happened, if only to make sure the deer body was not blocking a road and potentially causing more accidents! I would not just drop him/her off at school with no explanation! I am hoping that the second arrest announced today involves the dad being hauled off!
SBHSMom April 18, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I don't get that either! I was told that her dad didn't pay up and the idiot girl spent the weekend in jail. GOOD! And soon her daddy will join her, I hope!
Jack Wagon April 18, 2012 at 04:23 PM
@morrigan "I have no idea why -- or even if -- her father didn't confront her about the damage to her car. We don't know what she told him about the car. We do know that he did what most parents would do if their kids couldn't get to school on their own -- he made sure she got to school." We know now! Looks like dad will be charged as well according to Patch. I disagree that most parents would have handled it this way. An overly permissive or covert parent would have handled it this way. Most involved parents would demand to know why their legally adult daughter all of the sudden needs a ride from 2 blocks away from the school when she already drove herself and why and how her car received damage.
Jack Wagon April 18, 2012 at 08:28 PM
The bail is about right for this type of crime especially if it's a first offense and since there were no fatalities. The cheapskate dad is probably waiting for the 10% option to kick in to post her bail.
Ira Glass Waters-Waters April 18, 2012 at 10:56 PM
http://alltheragefaces.com/img/faces/jpg/fap-now-kiss.jpg
Baxter April 19, 2012 at 10:34 AM
leet - Get a grip. He's responding to the morons who called him a racist. Obviously you only read what you want to read, dolt.
Jack Wagon April 19, 2012 at 10:44 AM
@leet, I am responding to what was said about me by some harassing idiot (JoeR) who posted false accusations again. I guess I struck a nerve with liberal leaning stuff. WOW. A little touchy. Who died and made you the Blogger God. Telling people they're idiotic and to shut up? Park it where the sun don't shine, honey. Loose some weight and you might like yourself again, fatty.
Jack Wagon April 19, 2012 at 05:28 PM
sigh…..hmmm?
sbhsalum April 19, 2012 at 09:58 PM
To SBHSMom: If the person who committed the crime was a Caucasian would you still believe that their immigration status should be checked? Because for all you know, they may have been immigrants as well...Just because their last name is "Patel" doesn't mean you can question their immigration status.
sbhsalum April 19, 2012 at 10:04 PM
I graduated from SBHS and a lot of my classmates had parents were immigrated from India, but they themselves were American born legal citizens, so I don't think it's right to say that "Odds are that miss patel was not born here." Where are your sources for saying this? Just plain ignorance?
sbhsalum April 19, 2012 at 10:15 PM
***who immigrated
Sadcitizen April 22, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Don't understand how people could be describing patel's behavior as "bizarre". I stop in the road or make a u-turn so I can make sure I didn't hit a raccoon.... This girl hit a human, never mind that she was a 14 yo girl! And drove home! And had her dad drive her back to school so she could observe class?!?! That girl could've died for all she knew... That girl could've died laying there on the pavement while shiv Patel continued on with her day. I went to school with this girl. Never knew she was a sociopath
SBHSMom April 26, 2012 at 12:13 PM
So why don't you understand people calling her behavior bizarre?!? It is bizarre! I hope the dad loses it all after his callous disregard for the victim's life!

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