Jacob T. Garrett is charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident while driving with a suspended license, and endangering an injured person in the accident, according to Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Burlington City police Chief Alan Snow. Garrett’s 23-year-old girlfriend, Stephanie White, was the victim.
Witnesses say Garrett was standing on the submerged vehicle pleading for them to “help his girlfriend,” but once they helped him out of the water, he ran.
The accident happened about 1 p.m. Sunday when the sedan Garrett was driving, allegedly at a high rate of speed, hit a parked minivan on Riverbank, crashed through a metal barrier along the Riverfront Promenade, and plunged into the icy river.
Garrett was able to escape, but White was still in the vehicle when first responders arrived. She was found submerged in water with her seat belt still on. Once extricated, White was transported to Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County in Willingboro, where she was pronounced dead.
A K-9 named Kobi tracked Garrett to the Burlington Towne Center light-rail platform on West Broad Street, where officers from Beverly, Burlington City and Edgewater Park located him, police stopped the train at the Beverly/Edgewater Park station, where Garrett was found, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor?s Office.
Following an investigation it was revealed that Garrett was driving at a high speed when his vehicle struck a minivan and plunged into the river at a public parking area near Wood Street, authorities said. The front end of the car broke through the ice.
The Prosecutor?s Office and city police say additional charges are possible after their ongoing investigation.
Garrett also faces several motor vehicle summonses.