Man crashed into Delaware River, left girlfriend to sink and die, cops say
BURLINGTON CITY — Authorities say the man who crashed a car into the Delaware River — resulting in his female passenger's death — left her strapped into the sinking car as he ran away.
Jacob T. Garrett, 24, has been identified by police as the driver of the car that struck a parked minivan at a high rate of speed on Sunday afternoon, then went over a river all into the Delaware River, where it broke through the ice.
Bergen County Prosecutor Scott Coffina identified the female victim as 23-year-old Stephanie White. After the car crashed into the frozen river, Garrett got out of the car and fled the scene while White still had her seatbelt on as the car sunk deeper into the river, Coffina said.
As he was fleeing the scene, Garrett told witnesses to "help my girlfriend," Coffina said. White was removed from the car by emergency responders and taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead, Coffina said.
Garrett was tracked from the river to the Burlington Towne Center North light rail station by a police K-9, according to Coffina. The prosecutor said police officers stopped a train at the Beverly/Edgewater Park station, where they found Garrett.
Garrett has been charged with second-degree leaving the scene of a fatal accident, third-degree causing death while driving with a suspended license, and third-degree endangering an injured victim. He was also issued several motor vehicle summonses and is being held at the Burlington County Jail pending an initial court appearance.
In 2016, a person with Garrett's name and of his age pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual contact, according to court records. He was sentenced to one year in prison. He also pleaded guilty to third-degree aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer in 2015 and was sentenced to two years of probation.
New Jersey 101.5 did not know Monday whether Garrett had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com