Deadly gas station crash driver had history of heroin, DWI arrests
WAYNE — The man accused of killing three people after crashing into a gas station on Tuesday while high on heroin has a long history of driving while intoxicated and heroin-related offenses.
Jason Vanderee, 29, of Glenside, was arrested Tuesday after being hospitalized in a crash that killed a 50-year-old former firefighter and his 17-year-old son, and a 22-year-old Delta gas station attendant who had recently moved to the United States.
Authorities told NBC New York that Vanderee had to be revived after the crash with Narcan, an opioid antidote.
It is not the first time Vanderee has been in an auto accident or the first time he's been busted on heroin charges.
Court records show he was arrested in November 2016 in Fairfield Township in Essex County on charges of third-degree possession of heroin and possession of hypodermic needles and paraphernalia. The more serious charge was downgraded to Municipal Court.
His driving record includes a DWI offense in April 2017, which resulted in a license suspension until November of that year.
A month before his license was restored, he joked on Facebook about driving again.
The state driving record also includes at least four accidents in 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2016.
He also had at least two speeding tickets and a ticket for driving the wrong way on a street.
New Jersey 101.5 did not know Wednesday whether Vanderee had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
A post to his Facebook page in December indicated he was trying to turn his life around.
"New house, new job, life is good," he posted.
In November 2017 he also lamented about losing an acquaintance to addiction.
Video of the crash shows Vanderee's Honda Pilot jump the curb of the Route 23 gas station and barrel through the father and son's Chevrolet Camaro, taking out Lovedeep Fatra, who had just finished closing the fuel cap on the Camaro.
Jon Warbeck, a former firefighter; Luke Warbeck, a Boy Scout and a junior at Boonton High School; and Fatra all died at the scene.
Fatra's uncle said the young man had moved to the United States from India almost two years ago.
Vanderee was charged on Tuesday night with three counts of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, three counts of first-degree death by auto while driving intoxicated within 1,000 feet of school property, three counts of second-degree death by auto, third-degree drug possession, and possession of hypodermic needles and drug paraphernalia.
Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said that Vanderee was driving at a high rate of speed.
Dan Alexander contributed to this report.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.