South Brunswick Police have charged the father of the driver in connection to a hit and run in the parking lot of South Brunswick High School last week.
Rajesh Patel, 51, the father of Shivangi Patel, was charged with fourth-degree hindering apprehension by attempting to conceal the vehicle and the driver from police. Rajesh Patel was also issued a summons for failure to report an accident and for concealing evidence. He surrendered at South Brunswick Police Headquarters earlier this afternoon and was released pending his first court appearance.
Shivangi Patel was also issued an additional summons for speeding.
The ongoing investigation into is expected to yield additional criminal charges on Wednesday. Charged last Friday in the hit and run was Shivangi Patel, 19, of Monmouth Junction.
Patel, a student at Rutgers University, drove to SBHS on the morning of April 13 to conduct classroom observations for her college course work. At about 7:25 a.m., police said Patel struck a 14-year-old SBHS student in the crosswalk in front of the school, shortly after the victim had been dropped off by her father.
The victim was then knocked onto the hood of Patel's Nissan Altima and hit the windshield of the car, smashing a large hole in the glass, according to police. The victim suffered a severe concussion and a fractured clavicle. She was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where she was treated and released.
Police said that after the collision, Patel fled the scene and headed towards First Avenue. Patel then allegedly had her father drive her back to SBHS, where she arrived shortly before 8 a.m. and conducted her classroom observations until about 11 a.m., according to police.
Patel 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.
South Brunswick Police spokesman Sgt. Jim Ryan said the investigation is ongoing, but additional charges are expected to be filed today (Wednesday).
"The preliminary results of the investigation indicate Ms. Patel was traveling at more than twice the posted speed limit when she struck the victim," Sgt. Ryan said. "Additional motor vehicle charges will be filed on Wednesday against Ms. Patel."
Following the incident, Sgt. Ryan said that no charges had been filed yet against Patel's father.
However, Sgt. Ryan said yesterday that a second person is expected to be charged criminally on Wednesday as well. No further information was available, but additional details are expected to be released Wednesday afternoon.
In the wake of the accident, South Brunswick High School Principal Tim Matheney sent an email to parents reminding them of safety precautions to take while driving on campus.
"Unless it's essential, we strongly encourage parents to send students to school on their assigned bus (or allow students in close proximity to campus to walk to school)," Matheney said. "This is both environmentally-conscious and provides for safer school grounds with fewer vehicles attempting drop-offs in the morning."
Matheney also requested the following:
- Parents enter campus off Stouts Lane by the tennis courts, proceed around the building to the Athletic Entrance (often called the Snack Shack entrance by students), and drop off students there. After the drop-off, please exit campus at the Ridge Road.
- You leave your home early so that you arrive at school by 7:15 a.m. By doing this you avoid the need to rush and your son/daughter will have sufficient time to go to his or her locker and get to class on time.
- 15 mph speed limit on school grounds.
- No U-turns are allowed.
- Stop for all pedestrians in marked crosswalks. Parents must drop off students curbside or adjacent to a marked crosswalk.
"We will have continued police presence through the week unless other emergencies require their attention," he said. "Please know that any driver can be ticketed on our campus by the police for violating a traffic law. School staff will also be present during busy times on our campus (including at the 5:00 p.m. pick up time by the Athletic Entrance)."
He added that the school is in the process of purchasing additional signage for the busiest crosswalks as a reminder to drivers. All parents are invited to attend the SBHS Site Council meeting on April 26, where the primary topic will be traffic safety on campus.