RARITAN BOROUGH — A man charged with killing a baby, on the baby's first birthday, admitted in court he was high on heroin when he hit the child on the sidewalk last July.

Somerset County prosecutors said Ronald B. Rebernik, 62, of Raritan Borough was driving his 2004 Ford Escape south on Anderson Street when he crossed into northbound traffic and hit two parked cars before continuing to drive on the sidewalk. He hit the 1-year-old, who was being pushed in a stroller by his 36-year-old mother while she was also walking with the baby's 5-year-old brother.

As part of a plea deal, prosecutors recommended a 15-year sentence under New Jersey's No Early Release Act in exchange for Rebernik's guilty pleas on seven charges, including first-degree homicide, two counts of third-degree assault by auto, third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance, according to MyCentralJersey.com.

Under questioning by his attorney during a hearing on Friday, Rebernik admitted he had ingested heroin earlier in the day that had fentanyl, according to the report. He recalled having difficulty driving and going to a QuickChek store where police took him to the police station and issued him a ticket.

After that, he resumed driving, then went over the curb and had the fatal crash.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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