Two Juveniles Sentenced To Probation For Ocean County Parkway Fire

Photo courtesy Ocean County Scanner News

BRICK – Officials have announced the resolution of charges brought against two Brick Township juveniles for the arson that occurred on the Garden State Parkway on January 19, 2022.

The incident shut down the Parkway for several hours, with the northbound and southbound lanes of traffic near milepost 91 closed.

“Although the charges were resolved in late 2022, the State’s intention to identify the juveniles by name in a subsequent public disclosure was opposed by attorneys for the juveniles in motions pending before the court; those motions were only recently decided by the court in the juveniles’ favor in February 2023, when it was ordered that the juveniles could be identified solely by their initials,” the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office stated in a press release.

Photo courtesy Ocean County Scanner News

The fire broke out around 5 p.m. by the area of milepost 91 in Brick Township. Detectives determined that the fire was started within a drainage culvert that runs underneath the Parkway between the 91 north entrance ramp to the 91 south exit ramp.

Authorities later determined that two juveniles, I. J., 15, and A.R., 14, were responsible for the arson and various acts of delinquency related to that event.
In 2022, both juveniles pleaded guilty to Arson and Criminal Mischief, and admitted that a Christmas tree inside the drainage culvert was purposely lit on fire, resulting in the extensive damage to the area.

Both were sentenced to 60 days in the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center as a condition of three years juvenile probation. Additionally, the Court ordered each juvenile to pay $7,500 in restitution. Both juveniles were also ordered to complete 50 hours of community service and attend and complete a fire setter’s education program.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer acknowledged the diligent efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Iva Krasteva who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the New Jersey State Police, Brick Township Police Department, and New Jersey Department of Transportation, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation.