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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.

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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.

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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