TOMS RIVER – A child is in critical condition after a crash at one of the country’s deadliest intersections.
A 2022 Dodge Ram 1500 was heading east on Route 70 at around 4 p.m. on March 23. Police said it didn’t stop at the red light at Massachusetts Avenue. The truck grazed a Honda CRV that was in the intersection and then it struck a 2017 Subaru Impreza which was heading west on 70 and making a left onto Massachusetts. The Impreza was pushed back and spun after impact. The Ram overturned and landed on the driver’s side. It then caught fire. While the Impreza was overturning, it grazed a 2021 Lexus RX 350.
The driver of the Impreza and the three children inside were taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune. The driver and two of the children were treated for minor injuries and then released. The third juvenile passenger is in critical condition.
Police said the driver of the Ram, Charles Sharkey, Jr., 33, of Jackson was driving erratically and using his phone before the crash. He had a suspended license and two active warrants. The Ram was a rental vehicle taken without the renter’s consent. He was arrested at the scene and treated for injuries at another hospital.
Sharkey was charged with four counts of Aggravated Assault, four counts of Assault by Auto, Unlawful Taking of a Means of Conveyance, Causing Death or Injury While Driving with a Suspended or Revoked Driver’s License, and multiple motor vehicle summons. Pending the lab results of his blood, there might be more charges.
The intersection of Route 70 and Massachusetts Avenue has a history of being one of the country’s deadliest.
From time to time, businesses compile statistics about issues of concern – such as traffic – and release them to the media. Last year, the Fang Law Firm paired with 1Point21, a data visualization and content marketing agency, to analyze crash details. They found that this intersection was the third most deadly in the United States.
There were eight fatal crashes during the study period. The two intersections that were more deadly each had nine, and they were both in New Jersey as well: Lalor Street and Route 129 in Mercer County; and East Jersey Street and Routes 1 and 9 in Union County.
Officials said that some changes at this intersection involving such things as the timing of the lights have made it less dangerous in recent years.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer commended the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Squad, Toms River Township Police Department, Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their combined and collective effort in connection with this investigation.
Charges are merely accusations until proven in a court of law.