Drunk Driver Sentenced With Vehicular Homicide

Ashley Beams (Photo courtesy Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)

  TOMS RIVER – A driver who lost control of her vehicle and killed a man in the shoulder of the road will serve five years in prison, officials said.

  Ashley Beams, 32, of Toms River, will have to serve at least 85 percent of her prison sentence before she may be eligible for parole.

  The crash took place on February 8, 2022 near Twin Oaks Drive in the area of Bay Avenue at around 10:30 p.m. Beams was driving east on Bay when she failed to maintain her lane and entered the shoulder.

  As a result, she hit James Cruz, 62, of the Parlin section of Old Bridge Township, who at the time was getting a package out of his car.

  Cruz was pinned between the two vehicles and was carried a significant distance eastbound on Bay before the cars came to rest, officials said. Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene.

  Beams was brought to Jersey Shore University Medical Center for treatment of injuries she sustained in the crash.

  At the hospital, it was learned that Beams’ Blood Alcohol Concentration was higher than the legal limit of .08.

  Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer acknowledged the efforts of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy and Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Schron who handled the case on behalf of the State, and commended the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation leading to Beams’ guilty pleas – and now her state prison sentence.