South Jersey hit-and-run suspect turns himself in to police
Pennsville Police say the driver of a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run early Sunday that left a member of the Pennsville Memorial High School football team seriously injured has turned himself in as the player continues his recovery.
Pennsville Police Chief Allan J. Cummings identified the suspect as Zachary D. McDonough, 23, of Pennsville, charging him with assault by auto, knowingly leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury, hindering apprehension, failure to report an accident and tampering with evidence. He is being held at the Salem County Correctional Facility on $50,000 bail.
Cummings said McDonough was not previously known to police.
"I'm a big believer that if you lie, you're just digging yourself a deeper hole to get out of in the end," Cummings said. "So, make a mistake, everybody makes mistakes. Your best bet is to just come forward and explain what happened."
Seventeen-year-old Kyle Pszenny had been at his girlfriend's house and was headed home on his skateboard when he was struck by a car around 2 a.m. Sunday. Police say he suffered "serious" injuries to his head, neck, leg and ear and had undergone surgery at a hospital in Delaware.
According to a CaringBridge website created by Kyle's mother, Crystal Parks, he remains in critical condition and is starting to breath on his own although he is still using a breathing tube to help heal a bruised lung and to prevent pneumonia from developing. Parks says many of the multiple scrapes and bruises have started to heal and jokes that his daily protein drinks are helping the process.
McDonough turned himself in after his silver Hyundai Accent was found covered in the backyard of an apartment building on North Hook Road, not far from the accident scene. Cummings said the car belongs to McDonough's father.
"The owner of the car was located and he told officers the vehicle was driven by his son," Cummings said. "We located his son -- he was not in town here -- and he drove himself here and turned him in."
Police had narrowed their search to a 1999-2002 Hyundai Accent hatchback with damage to the front passenger side.
Pennsville Memorial High School was a sea of blue-and-gold on Monday to show support for Pszenny.
"As far as the town and social media, they've been all over, making all kinds of beautiful comments about him and what kind of person he is," Cummings said.
A candlelight vigil will be be held at the high school's football stadium, Lou D'Angelo Stadium, on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in support of Pszenny's recovery. "Though some of Kyle's immediate family will not be in attendance," writes Parks, "we will be looking forward to the positive energy in the air just from this night of powerful prayer . We gratefully thank you. "
Following surgery on Sunday, "Doctors reported that the swelling was not as bad as initially thought," reads a post on the Pennsville Memorial High School Athletic Department Facebook page. An update on Monday morning reports that Pszenny did "quite well through the night and is showing signs of forward progress where he has been reactive to both light and physical stimulus."
According to Cummings, Pszenny is "a great kid. My son actually plays football with him. He's a good kid. He's well-liked. Really everybody is just behind him 100 percent, hoping to see him heal."
Anyone with further information regarding this incident should contact Pennsville Police at 856-678-7777.
David Matthau and The Associated Press contributed to this report.