Fugitive fled to Mexico after Christmas Eve crash that killed NJ woman
The man wanted in a Christmas Eve hit-and-run crash that left an 81-year-old Howell woman dead has been captured in Texas after returning from Mexico, officials said.
Roberto Alcazar-Sanchez, 27, of Jackson, surrendered Wednesday to United States Customs and Border Patrol Protection Agents in Laredo, Texas, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.
Norman Shtab, 83, and his wife, Phyllis, were driving to Christmas Eve dinner around 6 p.m. when Alcazar-Sanchez drove his Chevrolet Silverado into their 2010 Mercedes-Benz as they made a left turn from the Route 195 off-ramp at Exit 21, prosecutors said.
Alcazar-Sanchez left the scene.
He was charged with knowingly leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident resulting in death, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended driver’s license while being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Alcazar-Sanchez’s girlfriend, Reyna Mendez, 27, of Jackson, was charged with hindering apprehension after giving investigators false information about his whereabouts, according to Billhimer.
Mendez's attorney Greg S. Gargulinski told New Jersey 101.5 his client "maintains her innocence and has been cooperative with law enforcement authorities throughout the entire legal process."
Phyllis Shtab died the day after Christmas at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.
When Alcazar-Sanchez is returned to New Jersey, he will be held in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing. Coronavirus restrictions require him to quarantine for seven to 10 days before his anticipated extradition to Ocean County.
It's been a tough few months for Norman Shtab, a survivor of a Soviet internment camp, daughter-in-law Michelle Platzer told New Jersey 101.5. The couple's dog, a black Lab-mix named Sammi who briefly went missing from a family member's home while he was hospitalized, died in February.
Platzer said her father-in-law broke eight ribs in the crash and had vision problems from a head injury. While undergoing a body scan, doctors found a cancerous tumor in his bladder. He is undergoing surgery next week to remove the tumor.
"These are times that try a man/woman’s soul indeed. Keeping the faith through it all," Platzer said.