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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.

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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