NJ man admits to hit-run on suspended license that killed teen
A 31-year-old man has admitted to a deadly hit-and-run in Lakewood that killed a 15-year-old boy and injured the teen's father as the two were walking along a road with a broken bicycle.
Alexander Politan, of Toms River, pleaded guilty Tuesday to knowingly leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident resulting in death, as well as driving with a suspended license, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced.
The victim in the October crash was Lakewood High School student Jesus Lopez Grande, who suffered extensive skull fractures, a severed spinal cord and other multiple broken bones, according to the affidavit of probable cause against Politan.
Politan's defense attorney, Robert Hynes, previously said his client "100% would have stopped if he knew he hit a person." He also said to New Jersey 101.5 that Politan thought he had struck a large animal.
Prosecutors will recommend a seven-year state prison term at the time of his sentencing on April 17.
Investigators said parts of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee found by police at the crash scene included pieces from the passenger side view mirror, front grill and part of the quarter panel.
As previously reported by NJ.com, Hynes said Politan was driving his brother’s vehicle, which he parked at his mother’s home that night, before making a "pre-planned" out-of-state trip to Colorado to visit his brother.
The crash also left the victim's father, Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, slightly hurt.
Police said Lopez Rodriguez told them he was walking his son home from work that night along Oak Street, and pushing his son's bicycle along his right side, when he was knocked to the ground by the Jeep.
Lopez Rodriguez said he did not realize at first that his son, walking ahead of him, had been hit, too.
Two days after the crash, police received an anonymous tip that a vehicle matching the description of the one involved in the deadly crash was parked at a Toms River home on the 1700 block on New Hampshire Avenue.
The Jeep Cherokee, which is registered to William Flood, was found there by police.
Two days after that, Politan turned himself over to police. He's been in Ocean County jail since his October arrest.
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