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UPDATE: Charges Filed Against Driver's Father in Hit and Run

South Brunswick Police charged the father of the driver today in last week's hit and run at South Brunswick High School that sent a 14-year-old student to the hospital.

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.

***

6 a.m.

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.

Truthteller April 18, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Hey here is an example of where you could look back at the zoning board decision recently and realize they were on target. Had this been a smaller child on a road like Perrine we would most likely be a town in mourning thank God that is not the case. Maybe those who opposed a school on a dangerous road knew what they were talking about. I wonder how Winston and friends feels now about the zoning decision.
Jack Wagon April 18, 2012 at 08:26 PM
The bail is about right for this type of crime especially if it's a first offense since there were no fatalities. The cheapskate dad is probably waiting for the 10% option to kick in to spring her.
Marc April 18, 2012 at 10:38 PM
on kendall road between hodge rd and pyne rd cars are speeding up and down day and night 365 days a year and you never see a police car
Nomie April 18, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Between the horrible drop off conditions and lack of sidewalks I have a feeling that this is not going to be the last incident.
Susan Maloney April 18, 2012 at 11:15 PM
I have to say I am not surprised this happened. I have been complaining to the police about the speeding and drag racing that goes on down First Ave. I've asked if exiting from the Stouts La exit of the school can be restricted and speed humps installed to stop the mania during the arrival and dismissal periods. I have a feeling the Council is going to have to get involved. It's unfortunate that a serious injury had to take place but maybe the police will finally do something about this problem that so many residents have complained about. I'm speechless that the driver left the scene and then, in a heartless, cold-blooded fashion, came back to conduct her class observation! I'm sickened that the father was complicit in her crime! This is very sad. I hope the student has a speedy and full recovery. My prayers are with her and her family. I wonder if the driver will be expelled from Rutgers? I sure hope RU administration is all over this!
girlgirl April 19, 2012 at 12:54 AM
fathers an idiot raising an idiot...but thats just my opinion
I am RIGHT April 19, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Public records show the Patels live across the road from SBHS. She can likely see the school from her house. Too bad she didn't walk to SBHS although her family may have thought it was too dangerous to cross Ridge Rd. Isn't that ironic.
Tyler April 19, 2012 at 03:27 AM
People should stop saying where the next accident will be and should focus on preventing accidents in the first place. AC you have no clue what your talking about, the majority of teenagers might speed but just as many adults rush and try to get somewhere faster than needed. All in all this girl should have her license suspended, charge with multiple citations and left in jail to think about what a completely unforgettable crime she committed.
Crazy World April 19, 2012 at 04:51 AM
I wish the young lady who was hit a speedy recovery. It is unfortunate that speed and carelessness had to happen that day. The worst part is the cover-up by not only the driver, but the driver's father. If found guilty, they should throw the book at them. There is no excuse for being stupid and should not be tolerated. I have noticed more drivers in South Brunswick not coming to a full stop at stop signs and continuing to make right turns. I've even seen drivers make left turns on red lights - unbelieveable!(stay away Rt.27 & Beekman Road). God help us!
Just call me Johnny April 19, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Damn I remember that girl from high school. I thought she would do well. I was a slacker and she was a study freak. Turns out, I'm the one with a partial to grad school and she's the one in cuffs.
Lauren C April 19, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I agree, Scott!!! Bail should be set at $250,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MP April 19, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Any half-decent person would know to stop after striking a child with their vehicle. It is funny how people forget that they were once teenagers as well. It is a shame to scoff at an entire age group because of people like this girl. Not to mention there is just as many adults speeding because they are late for work or are trying to get home from work after a long day.
Sunil Jain April 19, 2012 at 06:25 PM
This particular comment show that writer needs some guidance about how to discuss a topic in civil manner.
mtwjfg April 19, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I thinkl that she looks good in her prison uniform. Now let's see a picture of the father in his prison uniform. I really agree that her dirver's license needs to be suspended for a long time. NOW!
Swag April 19, 2012 at 07:07 PM
lmao ^ her licence getting suspended isn't a main concern, shes prob facing jail time of some sort for a hit and run
I am RIGHT April 19, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Sunil - Don't start apologizing and making excuses for this "person". The community has a right to be upset with her and her family and to want her punished to the full extent of the law.
John Smith April 19, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Who is running this site? and why are my comments being deleted
Sunil Jain April 19, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Discussing a issue by calling out names and targetting a specific community does not serve the purpose of highlighting the gravity of the crime committed here. If we lower our standards, then what is the difference between us and the criminals. We should spend our time in productive fashion by ensuring guilty gets punished and find ways for future so that this does not happen again. If anyone thinks that anger, calling names and racist comments serve any purpose, other than highlighting their own values then all the best.
Jack Wagon April 19, 2012 at 07:58 PM
John, I'm having issues with my posts not posting as well.
Hank Kalet April 19, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Folks, the site is undergoing some maintenance that has caused the comment function to act a bit strange. It is being worked on as I write this, so please be patient. sorry about the inconvenience and keep up the debate.
Jack Wagon April 19, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Thanks for the update, Hank.
I am RIGHT April 19, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Sunil - It is perplexing that you continue to defend the actions of this "person". Quite frankly I find what she did indefensible. There is no room for this behavior in our town.
Judy Walters April 19, 2012 at 09:08 PM
I don't think Sunil is defending the actions of this person. I think Sunil is trying to point out that we should focus on the actual crime and punishment and the two people who were charged, not on other areas.
Jack Wagon April 19, 2012 at 10:35 PM
@Sunil - What specific community has been targeted and where are the racist comments? I haven't found any in this thread. People are plain angry that someone allegedly committed a serious hit and run at the local HS. Their actions were callus and towards the welfare of another human being. Their reaction in the next few hours shows malice and their attempt to cover up the crime. This post is exactly the right place for people to express their outrage that someone who lives here and is supposed to be a neighbor has disappointed an entire community. The only people who should be embarrassed and lowered themselves are the accused.
Sunil Jain April 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM
@Judy. Thanks a lot for understanding exact meaning of my post.
S April 20, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I'm disgusted by the actions of both the father and daughter. Accidents happen, but any sane, rational adult would have stopped the car, checked to see if the victim was alright, and then alerted the proper authorities. Instead, Miss Patel decided to straight-up leave the scene, and come back with her dad as if nothing was wrong. I can see where one might think the father didn't know what she'd done, but think about it, even if she sold him a story of hitting a tree, he'd HAVE to have noticed the scene when he dropped her off at school. He definitely would have put two and two together. And instead of civilly turning his daughter in, or at least letting someone know what had happened, he decided to let the cover-up go on. All it did was waste South Brunswick Police Department resources, excellent job by them, by the way. I'm just revolted in knowing that we have people like this in the town I've lived in all my life. I really thought better of the community. My best wishes to the victim and her family, and I hope this father-daughter crime duo is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I definitely don't want this "aspiring teacher" anywhere near my children, or the South Brunswick school system.
SBHSMom April 24, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Well said!
SBHSMom April 24, 2012 at 05:46 AM
I would go even further to the fact that I don't want either of these lowlifes to be allowed to live in the town! I have a feeling that their neighbors will be none too happy if they are allowed to!
Lawrence April 24, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I don't relish the thought of being called to jury duty but I surely would love to be on either the father or daughter's trial.
Up up and away May 23, 2012 at 08:00 PM
This town has gone downhill. It's bad enough that kids hit other kids and now they're using cars. It's even worse that parents are jumping into the cesspool. Yes, what the father did was horrible, but he is a father. What father would not want to help his child? Furthermore, what right do you all have to run someone out of town? It's this mentality that makes me shudder whenever I come back home for break. You all complain, yet not one of you has as actually done anything to fix any of this, my parents included. You all complain, yet when I drive at the posted speed limit, you have the nerves to get behind me and honk at me. When I yield at a yield sign or stop at a stop sign, you have the most disgusting gusts to honk at me for following the law. And let's not forget our law enforcers, who do the same things themselves. By law, if there is an emergency, and they are called, they are supposed to put on their lights. Yet I see these very same lights used to illegally cross a red traffic light. Hypocrites. Fix yourselves and this town will get better. We all need to change.

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