NJ woman charged in North Brunswick wrong-way crash that killed 2 children
A New Brunswick woman faces criminal charges stemming from the wrong-way crash on Thanksgiving night that killed two 9-year-old children, while also injuring two officers and a civilian in a police cruiser.
Yokauri Batista-Alcantara, 31, drove her Honda Accord the wrong way down an on-ramp in North Brunswick, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone, after which she struck an Old Bridge Police cruiser.
Reckless driving and alcohol consumption were believed to be contributing factors, Ciccone said on Tuesday, as other sources identified the children as the driver's own young son and relative.
Authorities responded to the crash on Thursday just before midnight in the southbound lane of Route 130 near the on-ramp to Route 1.
Two Old Bridge Township police officers and a passenger in-custody were treated for injuries at a local hospital.
On Friday, Batista-Alcantara was arrested and charged with two counts each of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, second-degree vehicular homicide, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated assault.
She also faces fourth-degree assault by auto.
One of the children killed in the crash has been identified as fourth grade student, Zion Barnes, by the principal of his elementary school in the Somerset section of Franklin Township.
Barnes was with his cousin when both were killed in the crash, according to a letter to the Hillcrest Elementary School community on Monday.
An online campaign setup on behalf of Batista-Alcantara by the woman’s mother, Margarita Alcantara, said that the children killed in the crash were Batista-Alcantara's own son and her nephew. The campaign was removed and all money refunded shortly after, as it was in violation of GoFundMe regulations.
The prosecutor's office declined on Tuesday to comment on the children's identities, including any relationship to the driver.
The Old Bridge police officers had been taking their in-custody passenger to Middlesex County Jail in North Brunswick at the time of the crash, Ciccone said.
Batista-Alcantara was being held at Middlesex County Jail, pending a detention hearing in Superior Court.