‘We need closure’ — Woodbridge family offers $10K for hit-run info
WOODBRIDGE — The family of a young father killed in a hit-and-run on Route 1 in August is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever is responsible.
John Kukuch Jr., 31, was killed by a hit-and-run driver while he crossed the highway near Cloverleaf Park and Route 35 in the early morning hours, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office. He was father of a 9-year-old son named John Dominick.
"I hope the person responsible, their spouse, child, family, relative that knows them will have a heart and say 'come forward already' because we need closure. We really do. We need answers too like what did happen," John Kukuch Sr. told New Jersey 101.5.
Kukuch said his son "did the responsible thing'" and left his car home on a night out drinking and hanging out with friends. He said they took an Uber to their last stop of the night, a bar on Main Street in Woodbridge, and his son decided to walk home.
"He almost made it all the way home," Kukuch said. "The police have him on video leaving the bar, walking up Main Street, walking Route 35 on the sidewalk. They said he did everything proper all the way up to where he got to the end of 35 where it meets Route 1. He didn't cross Route 1, he went under the underpass. He did everything right, they said, walking up the shoulder alongside the guardrail which I have visited many times."
There's no more video cameras beyond that point. Kukuch's son is only seen as a "digital shadow" who gets blurry when zoomed in. The only description of the car is that it's a "dark SUV" but no exact make or model.
"The person that hit him just kept on going. That's the hard part. They could maybe have saved his life if they stopped," Kukuch said.
The $10,000 reward is from donations to a GoFundMe page. Realtor Robert Dekanski, a friend of the family, donated three billboards along Routes 1 and 130 to bring attention to the reward.
"He did a real nice thing," Kukuch said.
Kukuch Jr. was very close to Bentivegna.
"They were like glue. I'm pretty much stepping into his shoes doing everything he was doing with sports and weekend visits," Kukuch said, adding that he believes Bentivegna's age is helping him because he's old enough to remember his father. "If he was any older he's be crushed."
Kukuch was frustrated at the lack of updates he has received on the case from law enforcement but admits it's been a tough case and there's probably nothing to report.
A spokesman for the Woodbridge Police Department described the case as being at a "standstill" because all leads have been followed.
Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Andrea Boulton said the investigation remains active.
"So far we have not identified the driver of the vehicle that struck and killed the victim, Boulton said.
Tip information may be provided anonymously through Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County by calling 1-800-939-9600 or submitted online at middlesextips.com. Tips may also be sent by text messaging 274637 (CRIMES) with the keyword: “midtip” followed by the tip information.
Those who provide information will be given a unique numerical code that that allows them to communicate with the program and collect a reward should their information lead to an arrest. All reward amounts are approved and set by Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County Inc.
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story should have said that John Kukuch Jr.'s son is John Dominick.
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