Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on August 29, 2022, Antwan McPhatter, 26, of Staten Island, New York, pled guilty before the Honorable Rochelle Gizinski, J.S.C., to Eluding in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b, as well as the motor vehicle offenses of Driving While Intoxicated in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Property Damage in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-129b, in connection with an incident that occurred in Seaside Heights on August 19, 2021. At the time of his sentencing on November 3, 2022, the State will be seeking a term of six years New Jersey State Prison.
On August 19, 2021, at approximately 6:30 p.m., Officers from the Seaside Heights Police Department responded to the area of Blaine Avenue and the Boulevard for a report of a hit-and-run incident. The report indicated that a 2015 Jeep Cherokee crashed into an unoccupied vehicle and fled the scene. Seaside Heights Police Officers attempted to execute a motor vehicle stop of a vehicle matching the description of the Jeep Cherokee, traveling in the wrong direction on Sheridan Avenue. As Officers activated their lights and sirens, the vehicle sped away at a high rate of speed – ultimately traveling northbound on Route 35. Officers observed the Cherokee make a right turn onto Beach Drive in Ortley Beach; the Cherokee then came to a stop at the end of Beach Drive but accelerated westbound towards Route 35. The Cherokee then failed to stop at a stop sign, entered Route 35, and collided with a marked Seaside Heights Police vehicle. As a result, the Cherokee struck a utility pole, which fell on top of the vehicle. The driver of the Cherokee, identified as Antwan McPhatter, attempted to flee the scene on foot at which time he was apprehended. Two Seaside Heights Police Officers were thereafter transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River, where they were treated for minor injuries and released. McPhatter was likewise transported to Community Medical Center, where a blood draw was taken from him pursuant to a court-authorized warrant. He was thereafter transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he has been lodged since the date of his arrest.
Laboratory results of McPhatter’s blood draw – received by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office in the course of the investigation – revealed that McPhatter was under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana at the time of the incident and was therefore unfit to operate a motor vehicle.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Schron who handled the case on behalf of the State, and commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Seaside Heights Police Department, 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 McPhatter’s apprehension, guilty plea, and soon his state prison sentence.