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Prosecutor: North Brunswick Man Falsely Claimed…

Vehicular Homicide Charges Filed Against Driver in Fatal Route 1 Accident

Lawrence Township police have identified Jennifer L. Grondski, 40, of Trenton as the woman who was struck and killed by a car as she tried to cross Route 1 in a motorized wheelchair late Thursday night.

The motorist whose late Thursday night (Aug. 23) was allegedly intoxicated and has been charged with vehicular homicide-related offenses, Lawrence Township police announced Friday morning.

The deceased was indentified by police as Jennifer L. Grondski, 40, of the 1900 block of Greenwood Avenue, Trenton.

The driver, Mitchell R. Depace, 26, of Jewel Road, West Windsor, was charged with death by auto, driving under the influence and reckless driving, according to township police spokesman Lt. Mark Ubry.

The deadly accident occurred along the northbound side of Route 1 (Brunswick Pike) at the intersection with Bakers Basin Road/Franklin Corner Road. It was reported to police at 11:43 p.m. Thursday.

Ubry said investigators from the township police department and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office have determined that at the time of the accident Grondski, operating a motorized wheelchair, was in the striped crosswalk attempting to cross Route 1, going east from Franklin Corner Road toward Bakers Basin Road.

Depace was driving his 2011 Nissan Altima in the right northbound Lane, Ubry said, noting that Depace had a green light at the intersection.

Depace’s car struck Grondski with such force that she was thrown a considerable distance.

She was pronounced dead at the scene upon the arrival of emergency medical personnel. Depace, meanwhile, was arrested, handcuffed and placed in the rear of a patrol car.

Another man who was riding as a passenger in Depace’s car initially left the scene, according to witnesses. But that man later returned to the scene and cooperated with police, Ubry said.

He said that passenger, a Lawrence Township resident, was not charged with any crime and was later treated for minor injuries he received when the car’s airbag deployed.

The northbound lanes of Route 1 remained closed until about 3 a.m. to allow authorities to investigate.

Conducting the investigation are township Police Officers James Larkin and Sean Kerins and Detective Robert Potter, with the assistance of Detective Tony Abarno from the prosecutor’s office.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the accident or who might have information that could assist investigators to call them at (609) 896-1111.

Jonas Cobb August 27, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Well Kris, think about the images her mother has in her head. Having to look at a severely dismembered and disfugured body.
Jonas Cobb August 27, 2012 at 04:48 PM
How can you say for sure that she was an addict. Just because she lived in that motel. I see whole familes there, people on welfars and disability aren't just druggues. My father is disabled and on social security because he had a stroke! that doesn't make him a drug addict. WHat about soldiers who are disabled and on welfare. That doesn't make them junkies
Amy August 27, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I was just about to say, everyone who says, "He was in the right! He had the green!" has never been to that intersection or tried to cross--it's a wide, 4 lane highway, and pedestrians are given a very limited amount of time to cross. Add to it that the woman was in a motorized scooter, which are very slow, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Kris August 27, 2012 at 06:43 PM
I'm sure she does. I just think it's very one-sided to think that it's only the victims family affected. This was an accident, and yes, DePace was wrong, there is no arguing that. It's just that he is being painted as a monster, something he is not. He's a human being that made a terrible mistake, one that can't be taken back. I don't think either families benefit from the outpouring negativity that is all over the web. This lady lost her life, and he lost his as well. Neither one is better off than the other at this point.
Steven A Martin August 27, 2012 at 07:02 PM
What extreme polarized views here! Either "he's a worthless drunk who killed an innocent victim" or "he did a service to society by killing a worthless drug addict"; Isn't there any middle ground and rational people here?

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