Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on August 8, 2023, John Zinkoski, 41, of Beachwood, was charged with Vehicular Homicide and Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide in connection with a motor vehicle crash that occurred in Plumsted Township on May 12, 2023, resulting in the death of Judi Smith, 59, of Browns Mills.
On May 12, 2023, at approximately 5:50 p.m., Officers from the Plumsted Township Police Department responded to the area of Pinehurst Road and Long Swamp Road for a report of a serious motor vehicle crash. An investigation by the Plumsted Township Police Department determined that a Volvo XC6, operated by Ms. Smith, attempted to make a right-hand turn onto Pinehurst Road when it was struck by a Nissan Frontier operated by Zinkoski, who was traveling southbound on Pinehurst Road. As a result of the crash, Ms. Smith suffered significant injuries and was subsequently transported to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, where she ultimately succumbed to those injuries. Zinkoski was airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where he was treated for his injuries and released.
Laboratory results of an initial blood draw taken from Zinkoski at the hospital revealed that his Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at the time of the crash was in excess of the legal limit. In the State of New Jersey, an operator of a motor vehicle is presumed to be over the legal limit for purposes of alcohol consumption where the operator’s BAC is .08 or greater. The laboratory results revealed the presence of cocaine and benzodiazepine in Zinkoski’s blood at the time of the crash as well. Further investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Plumsted Township Police Department determined that the vehicle operated by Zinkoski was traveling at an average speed of 86 miles-per-hour at the time of the crash.
On August 8, 2023, a warrant was issued for Zinkoski’s arrest. Zinkoski has not yet been taken into custody, and is considered a fugitive from justice. As such, his name has been entered in the National Crime Information Center database.
Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Plumsted Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation.
The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.