Route 287 crash victim couldn’t legally ride scooter on highway
FRANKLIN — A Somerset County man who was killed Monday morning after being struck by five cars on Route 287 did not have a license to operate the motor scooter on a major highway, New Jersey 101.5 has learned.
State Police said that Jeffrey Chaparro, 26, was driving a 2006 Honda Rukus, classified as a low-speed motorcycle with a maximum speed of 35 mph and an engine less than 50cc. According to the the Motor Vehicle Commission, such vehicles are prohibited from being driven on a state toll road, limited-access highway or any public road with a posted speed limit of 35 mph.
Chaparro, a resident of the Somerset section of this township, lost his balance on the Rukus around 3:45 a.m., drifted into the center lane and was struck by a Mazda 6. He was ejected from the Rukus onto the highway in Franklin and was hit by four other vehicles, according to State Police.
MVC spokeswoman Mairin Bellack said if a low-speed motorcycle is modified with a bigger engine allowing a faster speed it must be registered as a motorcycle and the driver must have a motorcycle endorsement to operate it.
"You have to take a safety class and go through the training," Bellack said.
State Police, which continues to investigate the incident, could not say Tuesday whether Chapparo's Rukus was modified.
Chaparro had a drivers license but not a motorcycle endorsement, according to MVC records — so even if the scotter was modified for legal use on the highway, Chaparro couldn't then use it legally as a motorcycle. It is not known who the Rukus in the Route 287 crash was registered to.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help with Chaparro's funeral expenses.
"Jeffrey was a hard worker, caring husband and a loving father. There is no amount of money that could fill the void of his life," the page read.