A motorist who crashed into a southern New Jersey tavern, killing a passenger and seriously injuring a pedestrian, has been convicted on aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges.

Fatal crash in Somers Point (WPVI-TV)

An Atlantic County jury returned its verdict Tuesday against 24-year-old Antonio Vargas of Somers Point, convicting him on eight counts overall. He faces a lengthy prison term when he's sentenced later this year.

Prosecutors have said Vargas' license was suspended and he was speeding and driving drunk when the January 2011 crash occurred in Somers Point.

His 33-year-old passenger, Kevin Botta of Somers Point, was killed. A pedestrian, 26-year-old Joseph Higbee of Northfield, was seriously injured when he was struck by a fire hydrant that was dislodged during the crash.

Vargas also was injured in the accident.

 

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