JACKSON – A six-vehicle crash Wednesday on South Hope Chapel Road resulted in one death, a serious injury, and the arrest of a freelance photographer. Paul C. Williams of Toms River was arrested at the scene.
The road was closed for hours after 3:48 p.m. near East Veterans Highway, Linda Drive and Whitesville Road, and required of almost all on-duty Jackson officers, as well as assistance from Toms River and Lakewood police departments dealing with traffic back-ups in their own towns.
A 64-year-old Forked River man, driving a 2013 Ford pickup, apparently had what police are calling a “medical episode,” with his vehicle facing northbound in the southbound lane and causing traffic to stop. His vehicle then struck the first vehicle in line, went off the road and struck a mailbox and tree before returning to S. Hope Chapel Road and hitting another vehicle. The Ford pickup continued north in the southbound lane, striking another vehicle and pushing that back into other vehicles.
The driver of the first vehicle struck somehow managed to reach into the Ford pickup and put it into park, stopping the truck.
Emergency workers were able to remove the man from his pickup and administer first aid and a defibrillator, but he was later pronounced dead at the scene.
A 47-year-old woman, her town not identified, was airlifted to a local hospital to be treated for serious injuries.
While the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department and medical examiner were processing the scene, officers saw a male cross the closed roadway and go around emergency vehicles to stand on the property directly in front of the active scene to photograph the scene and dead male. The photographer was Paul C. Williams, a freelancer for the Asbury Park Press.
“As the officers approached this male to have him back up from the scene, he became confrontational and made references that he was a photographer and was on private property. The homeowner of the property was then spoken with by officers and informed the officers that he did not know the male and did not give him permission to be on the property. The male was then escorted from the immediate scene by Sgt. Rich Bosley to another area where he could take photographs from. As he appeared to be complying with Sgt. Bosley, he then turned and attempted to walk past the sergeant back to the scene,” Jackson Police Capt. Steven Laskiewicz said. “As the sergeant extended his hand to stop him, the male swung his hand and struck the sergeant’s arm while cursing at him not to touch him. A brief struggle ensued and the 48-year-old male was taken into custody and placed under arrest.”
Williams was first taken to the hospital with complaints of pain before being processed at Jackson Police headquarters and charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and obstructing the administration of law. He was taken to Ocean County Jail after being processed.
The APP also took to social media to say that Williams was not a staff member but just a freelance photographer and they never issued him a press identification card.
Williams has also been arrested on a number of charges in the past decade and had served time in jail.