NJ Govenor Phil Murphy Calls for the Immediate Resignation of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez After Unsealing of Federal Indictment

Statement by Governor Murphy on Today’s Indictment Against U.S. Senator Robert Menendez 

September 22, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Govenor Phil Murphy has called for the immediate resignation of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez citing serious charges that implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system after an inditement was unsealed earlier today.

“The allegations in the indictment against Senator Menendez and four other defendants are deeply disturbing. These are serious charges that implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system. Under our legal system, Senator Menendez and the other defendants have not been found guilty and will have the ability to present evidence disputing these charges, and we must respect the process. However, the alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state. Therefore, I am calling for his immediate resignation.” — Govenor Phil Murphy

Facebook photo from Senator Bob Menendez profile.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As the grand jury charged, between 2018 and 2022, Senator Menendez and his wife engaged in a corrupt relationship with Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes – three New Jersey businessmen who collectively paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes, including cash, gold, a Mercedes Benz, and other things of value – in exchange for Senator Menendez agreeing to use his power and influence to protect and enrich those businessmen and to benefit the Government of Egypt.  My Office is firmly committed to rooting out corruption, without fear or favor, and without any regard to partisan politics.  We will continue to do so.”

Statement of Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin on the Federal Indictment of Robert Menendez

The Office of the Attorney General is aware of the details included in today’s indictment of Robert Menendez, a sitting United States Senator for this State. The allegations are deeply disturbing to me and my Office, and we are already in the process of reviewing the concerns raised by the indictment.

As the now unsealed indictment makes clear, there are allegations that Menendez attempted to pressure a senior member of this Office under a prior administration. The conduct alleged in the indictment occurred prior to my tenure as Attorney General, and involved a matter that was resolved prior to my time in office. My Office has cooperated fully with the Southern District of New York’s investigation. We will continue to do so. We are also engaged in our own independent internal inquiry into the allegations set forth in the indictment.

It is a privilege to hold public office in service to the people one represents. Any individual who uses their public office to enrich themselves rather than selflessly serve the public does so at great cost to the public and to all public servants. Self-serving misconduct by a public official betrays a sacred oath, corrupts faith in government, frays the delicate trust the public has in those who serve it, deprives our residents of the honest services to which they are entitled, and dishonors and undermines the good work of the countless dedicated public servants who come to work each day honoring their oaths. Plain and simple, these are not victimless crimes.

Public corruption at any level will not be tolerated by me or my Office. We remain steadfast in our commitment to root out corruption wherever it occurs.

Mercer County Jury Finds Trenton Man Guilty in August 2020 Double Homicide

September 22, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced that a Trenton man was convicted by a jury this week for the August 9, 2020 double homicide on Centre Street in Trenton.

On September 21, 2023, Tyzir Hamilton, 22, was convicted on all counts of the indictment, including two counts of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a handgun.

On August 9, 2020, at approximately 7:30 a.m., patrol officers with the Trenton Police Department responded to the area of 300 Centre Street for a shooting in progress.  Upon arrival, officers located the first victim, William Irizarry, 18, lying on the street in the area of 339 Centre Street.  He had sustained multiple gunshot wounds throughout his body and was pronounced dead at the scene.  The second victim, Julius Vargas, 18, was located inside a corner market with a gunshot wound.  Vargas was transported to the hospital for treatment, however, succumbed to his injuries a short time later.

HTF detectives were able to locate a witness and numerous cameras in the area of the shooting.  A suspect vehicle was identified as a black Chrysler 300 with PA plates, along with two shooters, described as two black males wearing all black clothing and black ski masks.  The black Chrysler 300 was seen circling the area before the shooting, then parking and watching the victims for several minutes as they stood on the corner with others.  When the suspect vehicle drove up to the corner and stopped, two shooters, later identified as Tyzir Hamilton and Treizon Thompson, exited.  Both ran toward the victims, firing multiple gunshots.  The driver, later identified as Darnell Davis, remained in the car.  Hamilton and Thompson then chased after Irizarry as he ran into the street, continuing to shoot at him.  When Irizarry fell to the ground after suffering a gunshot wound, they both continued to shoot at him as he lay on the ground.  Afterward, Hamilton and Thompson returned to the suspect vehicle, which fled.

Further investigation revealed that a black Chrysler 300 was stolen out of Bensalem, Pennsylvania, on August 3, 2020, and seen on an automated license plate reader camera in the area of Pennington Avenue and Reservoir Street in Trenton on August 4.  Detectives were able to partially match the license plate of the suspect vehicle to that of the stolen vehicle out of Bensalem.           

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit conducted a physical search and forensic examination of Irizarry’s cell phone, pursuant to a search warrant, and a photo was found that Irizarry posted on his Facebook page disrespecting the H-Block gang.  Detectives continued to monitor multiple public social media posts throughout the month of August of numerous H-Block gang members talking about the murders of Irizarry and Vargas, taunting and threatening friends and family of the victims.  They also referenced Irizarry disrespecting the H-Block gang prior to being murdered.

On September 1, 2020, while on surveillance during another investigation, HTF detectives observed the black Chrysler 300 with Pennsylvania plates driving in the area of Perry and Southard streets in Trenton.  While detectives were attempting to identify the occupants, the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed and a pursuit ensued.  The pursuit came to an end on Reservoir Street near Frazier Street, where the vehicle crashed into a telephone pole and the occupants subsequently escaped on foot.  Area surveillance footage shows the vehicle crash into the pole.  Two black males exited the vehicle through the front passenger door, both wearing all black with their hoods up. The black males fled on Reservoir Street toward Frazier Street and subsequently made a right onto Frazier Street toward Pennington Avenue, then out of sight.

A search warrant was obtained for the vehicle and detectives located a fully-loaded, 9mm Taurus handgun under the driver’s seat.  The handgun was submitted to the New Jersey State Police Laboratory and identified as one of the guns used in the murders of Irizarry and Vargas.  Further investigation revealed another witness who was able to identify Davis, Hamilton and Thompson as being responsible for the deaths of Irizarry and Vargas.

At the time of the arrest of all three suspects in October 2020, Prosecutor Onofri praised the investigative work of the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and thanked the public for the assistance provided during the investigation.  “For weeks, detectives have methodically pieced the puzzle together, identifying the vehicle and all three suspects.  But the help of the public in solving this double homicide was instrumental,” he stated.  “It allowed us to follow leads from the very beginning, helping to point investigators in the right direction and allowing them to connect the dots.”

Mercer County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen M. Petrucci and Executive Assistant Prosecutor Michael C. Borgos represented the state during the three-week trial before Mercer County Superior Court Judge Peter E. Warshaw.

The investigation was led by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and Sgt. Richard Sheppard of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.  The defendant was represented by Mark Fury, Esq.

Hamilton is scheduled to be sentenced on January 4, 2024, along with Thompson, 23, who was tried in December 2022 and also found guilty on all counts.  They each face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.  Davis, 22, previously pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and is pending sentencing. 

On September 21, 2023, Tyzir Hamilton, 22, was convicted on all counts of the indictment, including two counts of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a handgun.

File photos by: Brian McCarthy

Breaking: U.S. Senator Bob Menendez Indicted for Bribes That Included Cash, Gold, Luxury Vehicle and More

September 22, 2023

Robert Menendez Allegedly Agreed to Use His Official Position to Benefit Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, Fred Daibes, and the Government of Egypt in Exchange for Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars of Bribes to Menendez and His Wife Nadine Menendez, Which Included Gold Bars, Cash, and a Luxury Convertible  

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that an Indictment was unsealed this morning charging U.S. Senator ROBERT MENENDEZ, his wife NADINE MENENDEZ, a/k/a “Nadine Arslanian,” and three New Jersey businessmen, WAEL HANA, a/k/a “Will Hana,” JOSE URIBE, and FRED DAIBES, with participating in a years-long bribery scheme.  The Indictment alleges that MENENDEZ and his wife, NADINE MENENDEZ, accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes from HANA, URIBE, and DAIBES in exchange for MENENDEZ’s agreement to use his official position to protect and enrich them and to benefit the Government of Egypt.  Among other things, MENENDEZ agreed and sought to pressure a senior official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an effort to protect a business monopoly granted to HANA by Egypt, disrupt a criminal case undertaken by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office related to associates of URIBE, and disrupt a federal criminal prosecution brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey against DAIBES.  MENENDEZ, NADINE MENENDEZ, HANA, URIBE, and DAIBES are expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, at 10:30 a.m.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As the grand jury charged, between 2018 and 2022, Senator Menendez and his wife engaged in a corrupt relationship with Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes – three New Jersey businessmen who collectively paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes, including cash, gold, a Mercedes Benz, and other things of value – in exchange for Senator Menendez agreeing to use his power and influence to protect and enrich those businessmen and to benefit the Government of Egypt.  My Office is firmly committed to rooting out corruption, without fear or favor, and without any regard to partisan politics.  We will continue to do so.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said: “The FBI has made investigating public corruption a top priority since our founding — nothing has changed.  The alleged conduct in this conspiracy damages the public’s faith in our system of government and brings undue scorn to the honest and dedicated public servants who carry out their duties on a daily basis.  To those inclined to use the status of their public office for personal benefit, or those willing to provide bribes in an attempt to gain influence from a public official, the FBI will ensure that you face the consequences in the criminal justice system for your underhanded dealings.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:[1]

ROBERT MENENDEZ is the senior U.S. Senator from New Jersey and currently the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (“SFRC”).  NADINE MENENDEZ began dating MENENDEZ in February 2018, they became engaged in October 2019, and they married in October 2020.  Shortly after they began dating in 2018, NADINE MENENDEZ introduced MENENDEZ to her long-time friend WAEL HANA, who is originally from Egypt, lived in New Jersey, and maintained close connections with Egyptian officials.  HANA was also business associates with FRED DAIBES, a New Jersey real estate developer and long-time donor to MENENDEZ, and JOSE URIBE, who worked in the New Jersey insurance and trucking business.

Between 2018 and 2022, MENENDEZ and NADINE MENENDEZ agreed to and did accept hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of bribes from HANA, DAIBES, and URIBE.  These bribes included gold, cash, a luxury convertible, payments toward NADINE MENENDEZ’s home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job for NADINE MENENDEZ, home furnishings, and other things of value.  In June 2022, the FBI executed a search warrant at the New Jersey home of MENENDEZ and NADINE MENENDEZ.  During that search, the FBI found many of the fruits of this bribery scheme, including cash, gold, the luxury convertible, and home furnishings.  Over $480,000 in cash — much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe — was discovered in the home, as well as over $70,000 in cash in NADINE MENENDEZ’s safe deposit box, which was also searched pursuant to a separate search warrant.  Some of the envelopes contained the fingerprints and/or DNA of DAIBES or his driver.  Other of the envelopes were found inside jackets bearing MENENDEZ’s name and hanging in his closet, as depicted below.       

NEW YORK, NJ –A 39-Page indictment has been returned against U.S. Senator from New Jersey Robert “Bob” Menendez and his wife Nadine Menendez a/k/a “Nadine Arslanian accusing the Senator of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes to benefit the Arab Republic of Egypt. Those bribes included cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle, and other things of value.

Photos below were copied out of the full indictment posted further below:

During this same search, agents also found home furnishings provided by HANA and DAIBES, the luxury vehicle paid for by URIBE parked in the garage, as well as over one hundred thousand dollars’ worth of gold bars in the home, which were provided by either HANA or DAIBES.  Two of the gold bars DAIBES provided are depicted in the photographs below.

In exchange for these and other things of value, MENENDEZ agreed to use his power and influence as a Senator to seek to protect HANA, URIBE, and DAIBES’s interests and to benefit the Government of Egypt.  Through this corrupt relationship, MENENDEZ agreed to take a series of official acts and breaches of his official duty.  First, MENENDEZ took actions to benefit the Government of Egypt and HANA, including by improperly pressuring an official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) to seek to protect a business monopoly granted to HANA by Egypt.  Second, MENENDEZ took actions seeking to disrupt a criminal investigation undertaken by the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General (“NJAG”) related to URIBE and his associates.  Third, MENENDEZ recommended that the President nominate a U.S. Attorney who MENENDEZ believed he could influence with respect to DAIBES and sought to disrupt a federal criminal prosecution undertaken by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey (“USAO-DNJ”) of DAIBES.

Promised Actions to Benefit Egypt and Pressure the USDA

Shortly after she began dating MENENDEZ in 2018, NADINE MENENDEZ worked with HANA to introduce Egyptian intelligence and military officials to MENENDEZ.  Those introductions helped establish a corrupt agreement in which HANA, with assistance from DAIBES and URIBE, provided bribes to MENENDEZ and NADINE MENENDEZ in exchange for MENENDEZ’s actions to benefit Egypt and HANA, among others. 

As part of the scheme, MENENDEZ provided sensitive, non-public U.S. government information to Egyptian officials and otherwise took steps to secretly aid the Government of Egypt.  For example, in or about May 2018, MENENDEZ provided Egyptian officials with non-public information regarding the number and nationality of persons serving at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.  Although this information was not classified, it was deemed highly sensitive because it could pose significant operational security concerns if disclosed to a foreign government or made public.  Without telling his professional staff or the State Department that he was doing so, on or about May 7, 2018, MENENDEZ texted that sensitive, non-public embassy information to his then-girlfriend NADINE MENENDEZ, who forwarded the message to HANA, who forwarded it to an Egyptian government official.  Later that same month, MENENDEZ ghost-wrote a letter on behalf of Egypt to other U.S. Senators advocating for them to release a hold on $300 million in aid to Egypt.  MENENDEZ sent this ghost-written letter to NADINE MENENDEZ, who forwarded it to HANA, who sent it to Egyptian officials. 

At various times between 2018 and 2022, MENENDEZ also conveyed to Egyptian officials, through NADINE MENENDEZ, HANA, and/or DAIBES, that he would approve or remove holds on foreign military financing and sales of military equipment to Egypt in connection with his leadership role on the SFRC.  For example, in or about July 2018, following meetings between MENENDEZ and Egyptian officials, which were arranged and attended by NADINE MENENDEZ and HANA, MENENDEZ texted NADINE MENENDEZ that she should tell HANA that MENENDEZ was going to sign off on a multimillion-dollar weapons sale to Egypt.  NADINE MENENDEZ forwarded this text to HANA, who forwarded it to two Egyptian officials, one of whom replied with a “thumbs up” emoji.  MENENDEZ made similar communications over the ensuing years.  For example, in January 2022, MENENDEZ sent NADINE MENENDEZ a link to a news article reporting on two pending foreign military sales to Egypt totaling approximately $2.5 billion.  NADINE MENENDEZ forwarded this link to HANA, writing, “Bob had to sign off on this.”

In exchange for MENENDEZ’s agreement to take these and other actions, HANA promised NADINE MENENDEZ payments, including from IS EG Halal Certified, Inc. (“IS EG Halal”), a New Jersey company that HANA operated with financial support and backing from DAIBES.  However, IS EG Halal had little to no revenue until the spring of 2019, when the Government of Egypt granted IS EG Halal a monopoly on the certification of U.S. food exports to Egypt as compliant with halal standards, despite the fact that neither HANA nor his company had experience with halal certification.  The monopoly generated revenue for HANA, through which he paid NADINE MENENDEZ as promised.   

Because the monopoly resulted in increased costs for U.S. meat suppliers, in or about April and May 2019, the USDA contacted the Government of Egypt and sought reconsideration of its grant of monopoly rights to IS EG Halal.  After being briefed on the USDA’s objections to IS EG Halal’s monopoly by HANA and NADINE MENENDEZ, on May 23, 2019, MENENDEZ called a high-level USDA official (“Official-1”) and insisted that the USDA stop opposing IS EG Halal’s status as sole halal certifier.  When Official-1 attempted to explain why the monopoly was detrimental to U.S. interests, MENENDEZ reiterated his demand that the USDA stop interfering with IS EG Halal’s monopoly.  Official-1 did not accede to MENENDEZ’s demand, but IS EG Halal nevertheless kept its monopoly.

After financially benefitting from IS EG Halal’s monopoly, HANA, at times with the assistance of DAIBES and URIBE, provided payments and other things of value in furtherance of the scheme.  For example, in or about July 2019, after the mortgage company for the residence of NADINE MENENDEZ initiated foreclosure proceedings, HANA caused IS EG Halal to pay approximately $23,000 to bring the mortgage current.  HANA did so after a series of discussions with NADINE MENENDEZ, as well as URIBE and DAIBES, about various options for bringing the mortgage current.  Later in 2019, HANA and DAIBES caused IS EG Halal to issue three $10,000 checks to NADINE MENENDEZ for a low-or-no-show job.  As the scheme continued, including through the additional actions described below, MENENDEZ and NADINE MENENDEZ received additional bribes, including gold and cash.

Promised Actions Seeking to Disrupt the NJAG Criminal Case

Also in 2019, HANA and URIBE offered to help buy a new Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible worth more than $60,000 for MENENDEZ and NADINE MENENDEZ.  In exchange, MENENDEZ agreed and sought to interfere in the NJAG’s criminal insurance fraud prosecution of an associate of URIBE and a related investigation involving an employee of URIBE.  On multiple occasions in 2019, URIBE, HANA, and/or NADINE MENENDEZ briefed MENENDEZ regarding the NJAG’s insurance fraud prosecution and investigation.  Following those briefings, and in exchange for the promise of the luxury convertible, MENENDEZ contacted a senior state prosecutor at the NJAG’s Office who supervised the prosecution and investigation (“Official-2”) at least twice.  During those communications, MENENDEZ attempted to pressure Official-2 to resolve the prosecution more favorably to the defendant.  Official-2 considered MENENDEZ’s actions inappropriate and did not agree to intervene.  Nevertheless, the prosecution was ultimately resolved with a plea allowing for no jail time and the investigation never resulted in any charges against URIBE’s employee. 

In exchange for MENENDEZ’s actions, URIBE provided NADINE MENENDEZ with $15,000 cash for the down payment on the luxury convertible in April 2019.  After the purchase was complete, NADINE MENENDEZ messaged MENENDEZ, “Congratulations mon amour de la vie, we are the proud owners of a 2019 Mercedes.❤️” and texted MENENDEZ the below photograph of the convertible:

Thereafter, URIBE made monthly payments to Mercedes-Benz for the convertible between 2019 and June 2022.  URIBE only stopped making those monthly payments after the FBI approached MENENDEZ, NADINE MENENDEZ, and URIBE in connection with this investigation.

Promised Actions Seeking to Disrupt the USAO-DNJ Criminal Case

In October 2018, the USAO-DNJ charged DAIBES with federal criminal charges for obtaining loans under false pretenses from a New Jersey-based bank he founded.  Between December 2020 and 2022, MENENDEZ agreed to attempt to influence the pending federal prosecution of DAIBES in exchange for cash, furniture, and gold bars that DAIBES provided to MENENDEZ and NADINE MENDENDEZ.  In furtherance of this aspect of the scheme, MENENDEZ recommended that the President nominate an individual (“Official-3”) as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey who MENENDEZ believed he could influence with respect to DAIBES’s case.  MENENDEZ also had direct and indirect contact with both Official-3 and another high-ranking official at the USAO-DNJ (“Official-4”) in an attempt to influence the outcome of DAIBES’s case.

Official-3 and Official-4 did not pass on to the USAO-DNJ prosecution team handling the DAIBES prosecution the fact that MENENDEZ had contacted them, and they did not treat the case any differently as a result of MENENDEZ’s actions.  DAIBES’s case was ultimately resolved with a plea agreement that provided for a probationary sentence.  In exchange for MENENDEZ’s participation in the bribery scheme, DAIBES provided MENENDEZ and NADINE MENENDEZ with multiple things of value, including the two one-kilogram gold bars pictured below.

ROBERT MENENDEZ, 69, of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

NADINE MENENDEZ, 56, of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

WAEL HANA, 40, formerly of Edgewater, New Jersey, and originally of Egypt, JOSE URIBE, 56, of Clifton, New Jersey, and FRED DAIBES, 66, of Edgewater, New Jersey, are all charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants would be determined by a judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI.  Mr. Williams thanked the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation for its invaluable assistance on the investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eli J. Mark, Paul Monteleoni, Lara Pomerantz, and Daniel C. Richenthal are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This investigation remains ongoing.  If you have information regarding the charges or defendants in the Indictment, please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI and reference this case.

As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Photos below are from the Senator Bob Menendez Facebook Page:

Two 15-Year-Old Males Stabbed In Hamilton Township Involving Group Of Five During Confrontation

September 21, 2023

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Police reported that on Wednesday September 20, 2023 at approximately 10:41 p.m., Officers were dispatched to the area of Waverly Place and Mervine Place on a report of a stabbing. Upon arrival Officers located two fifteen-year-old juvenile males who had been stabbed. The victims were treated on scene by responding Officers and personnel from the Hamilton Fire Department. An investigation revealed a red Toyota arrived in the area and five suspects exited the vehicle and began a physical confrontation with the victims. During the confrontation the victims were stabbed several times by one of the suspects. Both victims were transported to Capital Health at Fuld for further treatment. Their injuries are not considered life threatening. The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Tom Clugsten of the Hamilton Police Division Juvenile Unit at (609) 581-4027 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at (609) 581-4008.

Manchester Twp. Police Report Fatal Motorcycle Crash

September 21, 2023

MANCHESTER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Wednesday, September 20th, at approximately 4:35 p.m., officers from the Manchester Township Police Department responded to the area of Pasadena Road near the intersection of Buckingham Road to investigate the report of a motor vehicle accident involving a motorcycle.

Upon arrival, officers observed a 2017 Yamaha motorcycle near the wood-line on the grass shoulder adjacent to the roadway with extensive damage.  A witness in the area observed the incident and immediately contacted the police. Upon arrival, Officers and EMT’s from the Manchester Emergency Medical Services began life saving measures on the motorcyclist who had sustained severe injuries.  

The investigation revealed that the Yamaha motorcycle was traveling westbound on Pasadena Road attempting to pass another motor vehicle when the rider lost control of the motorcycle, ran off the roadway, and struck a tree. The rider was ejected from the motorcycle as a result of the impact with the tree. The sole occupant of the Yamaha was identified as 27-year-old Robert Trout of Lanoka Harbor, NJ, and he was determined to be wearing a DOT approved helmet at the time of the crash. He was transported via ambulance to Southern Ocean Medical Center where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries. 

The roadway was closed for several hours during the crash investigation. Assisting at the scene were members of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Manchester Emergency Medical Services EMT’s and firefighters, Robert Wood Johnson Paramedics, and Priced Rite Towing Service. The investigation into this crash is still ongoing, however, speed and driver error appear to be contributing factors. The crash is being investigated by Patrolman Jose Diaz and Patrolman Brendan Brush of the department’s Traffic Safety Unit.

Rotary Club’s Flags For Heroes Display Set for RWJ Hospital Grounds Flag Sponsorships Available for Residents and Businesses Goal is to Exceed 300 Flags

September 21, 2023

Flag sponsorships are now available for the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton’s popular and stirring Flags for Heroes display at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton.

Residents and businesses can honor their personal heroes by sponsoring a 3’x5’ American flag to be flown for nearly three weeks – Nov. 1-18 – on the hospital grounds along White Horse-Hamilton Square Road and Klockner Road.

The Rotary Club’s goal is to fly more than 300 flags, exceeding last year’s total.

Flag sponsorships, starting at $60 for individuals and $300 for businesses, can be purchased from the Rotary Club’s website, www.RHRotary.org. The deadline for sponsorships is Wednesday, Oct. 18.

Each donor will receive a digital certificate, a keepsake flag medallion with their name, message, and hero’s name, and acknowledgement on the display banner at RWJUH/Hamilton and on the Rotary Club’s website.

Net proceeds from Flags for Heroes will be donated to non-profit organizations in Mercer County, including the Mercer County Military Action Council, which will help finance an active U.S. military member’s return to their family during military leave.

The 4th annual Flags for Heroes display will fill the prominent hospital field with flags honoring family members, teachers, veterans, active military, first responders and others who have made a mark in a person’s life. A Community Field Dedication and Veterans Day ceremony will be held on the grounds on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 11 am to noon.

“If you live or work in this area, you have likely seen the fantastic display on the hospital grounds in the first weeks of November. For first-timers or those who have sponsored flags each year, here’s another chance to recognize heroes in your life,” said George Ott, president of the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton.

“We are inviting local individuals and businesses to sponsor an American flag so that we may continue our efforts to assist those in need,” said Bill Coleman, co- chair of the Rotary Club’s Flag For Heroes committee. “This is a great opportunity for people to honor their hero and to make everyone aware in a moving display.”

For more information about the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton and its charitable initiatives, email info@RHRotary.org or visit www.RHRotary.org.

Trenton Police Department Announces Statistics for 2023 Summer Initiative Task Force

September 21, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Trenton Police Department has released statistics detailing the results of the Summer Initiative Task Force. Starting in June, the joint effort between TPD, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Law Enforcement Partners, the State Police, and Trenton’s Street Teams resulted in numerous arrests, the confiscation of drugs and weapons, and multiple summonses issued, amongst other accomplishments before completing on September 10.

Detectives and Officers utilized various deployment efforts including: targeting known violent offenders with active arrest warrants, conducting vehicle interdictions and increasing traffic enforcement, utilizing Packetalk cameras to covertly conduct surveillance throughout the city, increasing suppression patrol and Walk and Rides in the “Hot Spots” throughout various parts of the City, and addressing complaints submitted to the Director’s Office, City Hall and the Tip Line regarding the open-air use/sale of illegal narcotics, violations of city ordinances, and weapons offenses.

“I am immensely proud of the work Director Wilson has spearheaded with this Summer Initiative Task Force. This collaboration between TPD, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the State Police, and our Street Teams has resulted in great success. Thousands of doses of harmful, illicit drugs are now off our streets. Over sixty firearms have been seized, nearly 350 arrests conducted, and over $50,000 cash has been confiscated and removed from illicit trade, among numerous other achievements. Thank you to this collaborative team for helping make our streets and communities safer for all,” said Mayor Reed Gusciora.

The chart shows the amount of drugs, guns, arrests made, and money confiscated throughout each month and the total number for the summer.

Aside from arrests and the confiscation of drugs, weapons, and money, the Task Force also focused on clearing warrants, increasing patrols and traffic enforcement, and responding to complaints and notifications of city ordinance violations and weapons offenses.

In June, the initiative led to 79 cleared warrants, 391 motor vehicle stops, 521 motor vehicle summonses issued, 42 vehicles towed, and 100 violations of City Ordinance summonses issued.

In July, these efforts led to 69 cleared warrants, 383 motor vehicle stops, 733 motor vehicle summonses issued, 54 vehicles towed, and 201 violations of City Ordinance summonses issued.

In August, 154 warrants were cleared, 468 motor vehicle stops conducted, 780 motor vehicle summonses issued, 93 vehicles towed, and 165 violations of City Ordinance summonses issued.

From September 1 – 10, there were 31 warrants cleared, 133 motor vehicle stops, 236 motor vehicle summonses, 15 vehicles towed, and 32 violations of City Ordinance summonses issued.

In total, the Initiative resulted in 333 warrants cleared, 1375 motor vehicle stops, 2270 motor vehicle summonses, 204 vehicles towed, and 498 violations.

Cumulatively, these efforts resulted in the seizure of 584 grams of crack-cocaine, 8254 decks of heroin, 61 firearms, and $53,309 in cash off city streets and out of the hands of drug and firearm traffickers. 342 arrests were conducted over the course of the summer.

“I want to thank every Officer and Detective who played a part in making the Summer Initiative successful. After a hectic start, we were able to curb the violence and make the Capital City a safer place for all residents during the Summer and will continue to do so as the year goes on,” Director Wilson said.

Prosecutor Identifies 37-Year-Old Man Shot and Killed In Trenton Saturday Night

September 20, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred this weekend in the city, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

Just before midnight on Saturday, September 16, 2023, Trenton police responded to the area of Brunswick Avenue and Middle Rose Street for multiple ShotSpotter activations.  Upon arrival, officers located a male victim in a sidewalk area in the center of Middle Rose Street suffering from numerous gunshot wounds.  The victim, identified as Balil Lewis, 37, of Trenton, was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead a few hours later.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information is asked to contact MCHTF Detective Jacob Schor at (609) 414-1179 or OIC William Jett Jr. at (609) 331-5010.  Information can also be emailed to mchtftips@mercercounty.org.

Names of the 2023 Trenton Homicide Victims

  1. 1/16/2023 Donnell Williams, 29, Trenton, Shooting.
  2. 2/12/2023 Stephanie Vil, 34, of Burlington, Shooting.
  3. 2/16/2023 Khalil Glanton, 23, Trenton, Stabbing.
  4. 3/24/2023 Harold Rosario, 19, Trenton, Shooting.
  5. 3/26/2023 Nyeisha Saunders, 41, Trenton, Shooting.
  6. 4/09/2023 Jhosse Tolentino, 23, Trenton, Shooting
  7. 4/12/2023 Jared Anderson, Trenton, Shooting (died May 29)
  8. 4/14/2023 Daniel Garvin, 46, Trenton, Shooting
  9. 4/20/2023 Ralph Conquest, 43, of Lawrence, Shooting
  10. 5/14/2023 Roger Martinez-Rodriguez, 27, Trenton, Stabbing
  11. 5/14/2023 Justin Reed, 24, of Ewing, Shooting (died May 22)
  12. 5/26/2023 Sherief Treadwell, 36, Trenton, Shooting
  13. 6/09/2023 Markell Biggs, 20, Trenton, Shooting
  14. 6/11/2023 Shaquan Brown, 23, Trenton, Shooting
  15. 6/15/2023 James Junior Journigan, 36, Shooting
  16. 6/15/2023 Louis Washington, 38, Trenton, Shooting, (died June 17)
  17. 6/19/2023 Ernest Denard, 61, Stabbing
  18. 6/22/2023 Guillermo Sanchez, Shooting
  19. 7/01/2023 Precious Saunders, 32, of Trenton
  20. 8/23/2023 Taquan Foxworth, 29, of Trenton, Shooting 8/19
  21. 9/02/2023 Ronald Taylor, 40, of Trenton, Shooting
  22. 9/16/2023 Balil Lewis, 37, of Trenton, Shooting

Ewing Firefighters Extinguish House Fire

September 19, 2023

EWING, NJ (Mercer) – Fire badly damaged a home on Beacon Avenue and sent one resident to the hospital early this morning (Tuesday, Sept. 19).

It was 6:06 a.m. when Ewing Township career firefighters and volunteers from the Prospect Heights and West Trenton volunteer fire companies were dispatched. Smoke was rising into the dawning sky as firefighters responded. They arrived to find flames shooting from the windows of a room on the first floor of 116 Beacon Avenue.

Hoselines were stretched and put to work, a water supply was established from a nearby hydrant, and additional firefighters were called to the scene from Trenton, Hopewell, Pennington and Lawrence. The blaze was declared under control at 6:33 a.m.

One resident, reportedly suffering from minor injuries, was transported by a Trenton ambulance to Capital Health Regional Medical Center.

The cause of the blaze was being investigated by township fire and police officials.

This blaze occurred almost directly across the street where a man was killed in a fire at 113 Beacon Avenue on Jan. 27, 2021.

Toms River Woman Sentenced To State Prison For Vehicular Homicide

September 19, 2023

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on September 15, 2023, Ashley Beams, 32, of Toms River Township, was sentenced by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, P.J.Cr.P., to five years New Jersey State Prison as a result of her previously entered guilty plea to Vehicular Homicide in connection with a motor vehicle crash that occurred in Toms River on February 8, 2022 – resulting in the death of James Cruz, 62, of the Parlin section of Old Bridge Township.  This sentence will be subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, meaning that Beams will be required to serve at least 85 percent of her prison sentence before she may be considered for parole eligibility. Beams pled guilty to the charge before Judge Ryan on July 24, 2023. Additionally, on September 15, 2023, Beams pled guilty to the motor vehicle offense of Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol; as a consequence, Judge Ryan suspended Beams’ driving privileges for a term of one year.

On February 8, 2022, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Officers from the Toms River Township Police Department responded to the area of Bay Avenue for a report of a motor vehicle crash.  Responding Officers determined that James Cruz had been struck by a motor vehicle operated by Beams.  An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, revealed that Beams had been traveling eastbound on Bay Avenue approaching the cross street of Twin Oaks Drive.  Shortly after passing Twin Oaks Drive, Beams failed to maintain her lane of travel and entered the shoulder – striking Mr. Cruz – who at the time was retrieving a package from the trunk of his vehicle.  As a result of the collision, Mr. Cruz was pinned between the two vehicles and carried a significant distance eastbound on Bay Avenue.  Mr. Cruz was subsequently pronounced deceased at the scene.

Beams was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune for treatment of injuries she sustained in the crash.  Blood samples taken from Beams at the hospital and in furtherance of the investigation revealed that her Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at the time of the collision was substantially higher than .08.  In the State of New Jersey, an operator of a motor vehicle is presumed to be over the legal limit for purposes of alcohol consumption where the operator’s BAC is .08 or greater.  On February 16, 2022, Beams was arrested by Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit at her residence.  She was transported to the Ocean County Jail, and subsequently released as a consequence of New Jersey Bail Reform.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy and Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Schron who handled the case on behalf of the State, and commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation leading to Beams’ guilty pleas – and now her state prison sentence.

East Windsor Township Remembers 22nd Anniversary of 9/11

September 19, 2023

EAST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP.   East Windsor Township held a 9/11 ceremony including a wreath laying to remember the 22nd Anniversary of 9/11 on Monday, September 11 at the East Windsor Municipal Building grounds, at the 9/11 Memorial.  East Windsor Township held and dedicated a 9/11 Memorial 30 days after the events of 9/11 and annually has honored and remembered this day.  East Windsor annually remembers Township residents Colleen Barkow, Lorraine Bay, Debbie Bellows, Anil Bharvaney, Neil Lai, Ruth Lapin as well as Joseph Pycior, and All Other Lost September 11, 2001.

Participants in the ceremony included:  East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 1;  East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 2;  Boy Scout Troops 6284 and 63;  Cub Scout Pack 53;  Girl Scout Troops;  Apollo Lodge #41;  Natalie Maldonado, East Windsor Regional School District, Hightstown High School;  East Windsor Regional School District, Hightstown High School Small Ensemble;  Rabbi Jay Kornsgold, Beth El Synagogue;  Reverend Stephen E. Bryant, Sr., St. James AME Church;  Reverend James R. Egan, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church;  Police Chief Jason Hart and Police Department, and Mayor Janice S. Mironov and elected officials.

A wreath laying ceremony at the East Windsor Township 9/11 memorial on the municipal building grounds took place during the Township community remembrance program. Pictured (from left to right) are: Chief Brian Foley, East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 2; Mayor Janice S. Mironov; Chief Gerald Laughlin, East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 and United States Air Force Veteran, East Windsor Police Lieutenant Ryan Mattek.

Local Boy Scout Troops 6284, 5700 and 59, Girl Scout Troops 70913 and 72965 and Cub Scout Pack 53 presented the colors at the East Windsor Township 9/11 remembrance ceremony.

Elected officials, clergy, police officers, fire company and rescue squad volunteers, school district, veterans and scouts participated in the ceremony at the East Windsor Township 9/11 memorial to remember and honor the anniversary of September 11. The ceremony took place at the existing 9/11 Memorial located on the grounds of the East Windsor Township Municipal Building (16 Lanning Boulevard).

Getinge, Global Life Science Company, to Relocate to Innovation Park Complex in East Windsor

September 19, 2023

EAST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)– Mayor Janice S. Mironov, joined by Council Members Denise Daniels, Anthony Katawick, David Russell and John Zoller, along with Frank Kozar, Getinge Vice President of Logistics Americas and Jim Murray, Ares Industrial Management Managing Director/US Development, announced that Getinge, the global medical device technology company, will occupy the entire newly constructed 167,500 square foot building in the Innovation Park complex on Princeton-Hightstown Road, in East Windsor Township. 

Getinge, founded in 1904 in Sweden, is a global medical device technology company which provides innovative equipment and systems to healthcare and life sciences industries, which improve people’s quality of life and save lives.  Getinge, using digital advances, is helping to create an improved work environment for healthcare staff with products that simplify their work, lead to increased productivity and save more lives.  Getinge assists with devices and systems in a variety of healthcare settings, including for intensive care situations, cardiovascular procedures, operating rooms and sterile processing.  The company boasts over 11,000 employees operating in 40 countries and 25,000 customers in over 130 countries.  The new Getinge East Windsor Innovation Park facility will join production centers in France, China, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

Mayor Mironov stated,  “We are extremely excited to welcome to East Windsor globally-established life sciences company Getinge, which develops tools to improve the delivery of health care services.  Getinge, a medical device and systems technology innovator, is squarely consistent with the Township vision for this prominently located and impressively designed modern Innovation Park complex.”

Mayor Mironov continued,  “We are proud to have Getinge join other Route 571 corridor high-tech and pharmaceutical-related corporations, including Shiseido America, Aurobindo Pharma, QTS and ForDoz Pharma.  East Windsor’s strategic prime location in central New Jersey mid-way between New York and Philadelphia, excellent access to major transportation networks, availability of highly skilled labor and hands on business friendly local government environment have contributed to the Township success.”

Frank Kozar, Getinge Vice President, Logistics Americas stated,  “At Getinge, we are committed to providing medical devices that saves lives and are excited to open our new center in East Windsor.  The location and size of the facility fit our business needs and we already feel very welcomed by the Township Mayor and leadership.”  

Jim Murray, Managing Director and Head of US Development for Ares Industrial Management, stated,  “As the owner and landlord of Innovation Business Park, we are pleased to welcome Getinge to the Park with a full building lease.  Tenant Improvements are underway and we anticipate Getinge beginning occupancy by year end.  This is a great fit for the Park and the Township and we look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Mironov and the Township in bringing another first class business to the second building in the development.”

The newly constructed contemporary Innovation Park, located on an 86.97 acres formerly occupied by McGraw Hill and comprised of two buildings, is designed to attract innovative high-tech and pharmaceutical-related business.  Innovation Park incorporates modern unique architectural features and extensive outdoor public green spaces, landscaping and berming with deciduous, ornamental and evergreen trees, benches and other amenities, and a walking pathway.

Mayor Janice S. Mironov and Council Members join Getinge and Ares Industrial Management executives to announce the opening of Getinge’s new facility in Innovation Park on Princeton-Hightstown Road in East Windsor Township.  Pictured (from left to right) are:  Council Member David Russell;  Council Member Anthony Katawick;  Council Member Denise Daniels;  Mayor Janice S. Mironov;  Frank Kozar, Vice President, Logistics Americas, Getinge;  Jim Murray, Managing Director and Head of US Development, Ares Industrial Management, and Council Member John Zoller.

Mayor Janice S. Mironov and Council Members join Getinge and Ares Industrial Management executives to announce the opening of Getinge’s new facility in Innovation Park on Princeton-Hightstown Road in East Windsor Township.  Pictured (from left to right) are:  Council Member David Russell;  Council Member Anthony Katawick;  Council Member Denise Daniels;  Council Member John Zoller;  Mayor Janice S. Mironov;  Frank Kozar, Vice President, Logistics Americas, Getinge, and Jim Murray, Managing Director and Head of US Development, Ares Industrial Management.

Getinge will locate in the newly constructed modern Innovation Park complex, located on 86.97 acres formerly occupied by McGraw Hill on Princeton Hightstown Road.  Innovation Park, comprised of two buildings, is designed to attract innovative high-tech business and incorporates modern attractive architectural features and berming with deciduous, ornamental and evergreen trees, extensive outdoor landscaped public spaces, benches and a walking pathway.

Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency Approves Agreement for the “Gateway” Project

44-acre Parcel to Include Open Space, Warehousing, and Remediated Parcels for Downtown Redevelopment

September 19, 2023

PERTH AMBOY – The Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency (PARA) has signed an agreement with a developer to remediate and redevelop a 44-acre blighted assemblage of properties known as “Gateway.”

Under the deal with Viridian Partners of Denver, the redeveloper will invest more than $110 million to clean contaminated parcels of land between the Route 35 Victory Bridge, Smith Street and Riverside Drive. The project, once completed, is expected to generate more than 400 long-term jobs and $1 million in local tax revenue.

As part of the plan, more than nine acres of land abutting the Smith Street business corridor will be remediated and “pad ready” for the city at no cost.  Perth Amboy officials will decide how best to redevelop the land.

In addition, the developer will remediate and improve an additional nine acres of land for Perth Amboy residents’ passive recreation, including natural areas surrounding Sonnaman’s Creek, with trails leading to a gazebo on a hill to be constructed overlooking the Raritan River.

About 25 acres will be used to construct a one-story, 471,000-square-foot, Class A, state-of-the-art warehouse.  Trucks accessing the warehouse must use Riverview Drive via its intersection at Smith Street to minimize traffic in business and residential areas. In addition, berms, buffer landscaping, and other natural screens will be used to minimize the impacts of the warehouse development.

“We’re eager to take advantage of the commercial possibilities of this large swath of developable property and maximize its ideal proximity to Route 440 and other major highways,” said Perth Amboy Mayor Helmin J. Caba. “Working closely with PARA and the developer, we are moving forward with a three-pronged strategy. The developer is paying to remediate the land, create a public park, and turn nine acres of valuable land into buildable property as part of our overall downtown redevelopment initiatives.”

PARA selected Viridian Partners because of the firm’s experience in remediating contaminated complex properties in Middlesex County and converting large industrial sites into clean, tax-generating uses.

As part of its portfolio, the company launched the ePort 1 warehouse project along 102 acres of the Arthur Kill in Perth Amboy and redeveloped a 400-acre former munitions plant in Cranbury. The site now includes warehouses for Amazon and Wayfair; 150 of the 400 acres are maintained as clean conservation areas.

Michael Cahn, a principal with Viridian Partners, said about 75% of the company’s developments are concentrated from Burlington County to Union County, as the 20-year-old firm seeks environmentally distressed properties near the New Jersey Turnpike and other major highways. Its other large developments are based in Florida, California, and Pennsylvania.

“What excites us about the Gateway project is its phenomenal proximity to highways; it is a perfect fit for our model of remediating complex properties,” said Cahn, noting there is also a landfill on the site the firm will address. “We are eager to move forward with Mayor Caba and PARA, breathing new life into the entire neighborhood and directly addressing a blighted eyesore awaiting redevelopment for decades.”

The site formerly housed a roofing company that manufactured asbestos shingles, closing an estimated 23 years ago, Cahn said. Viridian Partners has been working with the city since 2014 to create the overall plan for the vast site; it requires the developer to assemble 28 parcels to comply with the redeveloper’s agreement.

PARA Executive Director Tashi Vazquez said the next step is for Viridian Partners to submit a site plan to the city’s Planning Board for review and secure approvals from Middlesex County and the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The redeveloper’s agreement calls for the developer to break ground no later than spring 2025. Cahn anticipates it will take one year to remediate the property, addressing all geotechnical issues, and a second year for vertical construction of the Class A warehouse and nine-acre open space area.

“The city has been discussing the possibilities at Gateway for years; now is the time for action,” Vazquez said. “We have terrific, visionary partners working with Mayor Caba and Viridian Partners. We all have the same aggressive objectives for this major parcel: To create a lasting redevelopment project that offers many direct benefits to Perth Amboy residents. Working together, we are making it happen.”

Head-On Crash on Route 537 Leaves One Dead and One in Serious Condition

September 17, 2023

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–New Jersey State Police, SFC Philip Curry of the Office of Public Information told MidJersey.news that on September 17, 2023, a crash occurred at 2:50 p.m. on County Road 537 westbound milepost 34.4 in Upper Freehold. The preliminary investigation revealed that a Jeep Laredo was traveling westbound on County Route 537 in Upper Freehold Township, Monmouth County. A Buick Enclave was traveling eastbound on County Route 537. In the area of milepost 34.4 the Jeep crossed over the center line in an attempt to overtake traffic and impacted the Buick head on. As a result of this crash the driver of the Buick, a 79-year-old female from Manalapan, NJ, sustained fatal injuries. The driver of the Jeep, John Shovelin III, 23, of Rumson, NJ, sustained serious injuries. The crash remains under investigation.

BAPS Celebrates Veterans Appreciation Day in Robbinsville, New Jersey

BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham Shines Spotlight on Heroes: Veterans’ Commemoration Event

September 17, 2023

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–On September 16, 2023, the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham hosted a Veterans Appreciation Day ceremony with nearly 100 veterans, active-duty military, and their families in attendance. Set outdoors against the backdrop of Akshardham, U.S. Armed Forces’ veterans were honored for their dedication and commitment to the nation.

BAPS, along with members of the local community, deeply appreciated the service, courage, and commitment of the current and former members of the U.S. Military. They gathered to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have selflessly served the nation, defending the principles of freedom, liberty, and democracy. The ceremony was led by SSgt Angelina Mehta, who has proudly been serving in the US Marine Corps for 20 years and is also a dedicated BAPS volunteer.

The program commenced with a presentation of the colors by the Burlington High School JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) and a moment of silence for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. It was then followed by a beautiful duet of the American national anthem. 

Rooted in the spirit of service, both BAPS and our U.S. Military champion the value of giving back and selflessly serving society. Ms. Medina Wilson, Chief of Veteran Services of Mercer County, spoke on behalf of Mercer County Executive, Mr. Brian Hughes, and was honored to recognize the contributions of veterans. She shared BAPS’ excitement to commence this annual Veterans Appreciation Day at Akshardham. 

A highlight of the program included a heartfelt pinning ceremony as a token of BAPS’ appreciation for the veterans’ unwavering dedication. The presentation also recognized and acknowledged the role of families of veterans and active-duty U.S. Armed Forces. Families are the foundation of our nation’s strength and resilience that enable our armed forces to serve with purpose. 

Captain Robert E. Smyth delivered a touching speech on the qualities of veterans and how to honor all branches of our Armed Services. “It’s an honor and privilege to be here today. Veterans Appreciation Days are my favorite and happiest days. There are 21 million veterans in the US. I also want to thank those that are on active duty and in the reserves. This organization [BAPS] here wants to reach out to local veterans and help veterans and their families.” 

The program also commemorated National POW/MIA Recognition Day with profound respect and solemnity, observed on September 15, 2023. This day of remembrance honors those Americans who were prisoners of war and those who served and never returned home from the call of duty. A Missing Man table was set up in honor of those brave individuals to understand their sacrifice and pay tribute to those who are not with us today.

SSgt Angelina Mehta concluded the program by asking each participant to reflect on the powerful message of selfless service and harmony. She remarked “Akshardham stands as a testament to the incredible achievements that can be accomplished when individuals come together in unity and dedication, regardless of their background or beliefs. It is a symbol of the profound impact we can have on the world when we work towards a common purpose.” She also reflected on Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s (former spiritual leader of BAPS) life motto, ‘In the joy of others, lies our own’ and shared, “This timeless wisdom reminds us that our happiness is intertwined with the wellbeing of those around us. It calls upon us to extend our hands in service and compassion, just as our veterans have done for our nation… Let us carry this spirit forward, fostering unity and understanding in our communities and continuing to support those who have given so much to our nation.”

Photos and story provided.

About BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham

The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham at Robbinsville, NJ, is a nexus of Hindu architecture, culture, unity, and selfless service. Bridging India’s heritage with modern America, it embodies the visionary guidance of BAPS’ spiritual leaders Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj. Created by 12,500 volunteers, this masterpiece stands as an enduring symbol of love, peace, hope, and harmony, while preserving traditions across generations.

About BAPS

BAPS is a volunteer-driven spiritual organization committed to fostering individual growth through Hindu values of faith, service, and harmony. It enriches society with the devoted efforts of tens of thousands of volunteers from diverse professional and social backgrounds, contributing millions of volunteer hours annually. Under the spiritual leadership of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS nurtures Indian traditions in over 100 North American and 3,500 communities worldwide. Through these communities, it champions holistic personal growth, promotes social progress, and encourages diversity by embracing inclusivity across class, race, gender, and culture.