Grand jury upgrades charges in crash that killed TCNJ student
TRENTON — A man accused of driving while intoxicated and causing a crash that seriously injured several people and killed a college student is now in even more trouble.
A Mercer County grand jury last week handed up an indictment that tacks a more serious first-degree aggravated manslaughter charge against 23-year-old David Lamar. Previously, prosecutors had charged him with second-degree vehicular manslaughter.
Lamar is facing charges in the death of Michael Sot, a 20-year-old College of New Jersey student who was the designated driver for five of his friends that night.
The panel also indicted him on charges of second-degree death by auto, and six counts of second-degree assault by auto for the injuries suffered by Sot's friends and Lamar's passenger.
Investigators say Lamar stumbled out of the Landmark Americana, a bar on the TCNJ campus, after 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 4, with a blood-alcohol content that was three times the legal limit. Rebuffing a friend's offer to drive, Lamar got behind the wheel of his Kia Optima, investigators said. While speeding and trying to pass vehicles on Route 31, Lamar crashed head-on with a Dodge Charger driven by Sot, prosecutors said.
Sot's parents have sued Lamar as well as the campus bar, which they said served a “visibly intoxicated and impaired" Lamar.
Police said Lamar told them that he had two beers, two "twisted teas" and a shot. Investigators said surveillance video shows him drinking a "fishbowl" cocktail.
After the crash, the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control placed new restrictions on the bar, including not selling more than one drink at a time to any customer and developing a security plan to address drunk and underage patrons.
In December, Lamar was released to home detention with his grandmother in West Windsor with electronic and alcohol monitoring.
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.