A New Jersey judge sentenced William Simkins to seven-and-a-half years in jail for leaving the scene of a 2010 accident that left a teenage boy dead. Simkins, 33, had been earlier cleared of vehicular homicide charges, but fleeing the accident will cost him jail time and a two-year license suspension once he is released.
Simkins was initially accused of running down the victim, 16-year-old Jacob Broschard, as revenge for vandalizing his car. Broschard and two other boys were on bikes, and Simkins chased them for a distance before fatally striking Broschard and driving away, according to police. He turned himself into the police two hours later.
A judge dismissed the criminal charges against Simkins, because there was no proof of recklessness in Simkins’ actions, which is crucial in vehicular homicide charges. Simkins’ lawyer claimed that at the time of the accident, Broschard swerved his bike in front of Simkins’ car. Simkins was charged only with fleeing the scene of a crime, but because the accident resulted in Broschard’s death, those charges were escalated.
New Jersey criminal attorneys advise that fleeing the scene of a crime can be costly—as Simkins is learning—even when you are acquitted of any criminal charges. Fleeing the scene of an accident can result in fines, even if only the fleeing party’s vehicle was damaged. These fines can range anywhere from $200 to $400, and a judge may choose to impose a 30-day jail sentence instead.
If an accident results in serious bodily injury to any involved parties, New Jersey law requires all parties to remain at the scene until police arrive. Failure to do so can result in increased fines - from $2,500 to $5,000 - and even felony charges. In Simkins’ case, the penalties for waiting two hours to turn himself in have resulted in nearly ten years of punishment, with jail time and his suspension.
New Jersey criminal attorneys warn that fleeing the scene of an accident is always the wrong move, especially if someone is injured or killed. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, don’t hesitate to talk the experienced New Jersey criminal attorneys at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman for legal counsel and assistance.