Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on August 22, 2023, John Zinkoski, 41, of Beachwood, surrendered himself, in the presence of his attorney, to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office in connection with charges of Vehicular Homicide and Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide – relative to a motor vehicle crash that occurred in Plumsted Township on May 12, 2023, which resulted in the death of Judi Smith, 59, of Browns Mills. Zinkoski was charged with these offenses on August 8, 2023, and a warrant for his arrest was issued on that date.
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.
Upon his surrender to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, Zinkoski was transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he is presently lodged pending a detention hearing.
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.