BREAKING NEWS REPORT: This report is based off of radio reports, on scene information, and sources. If more information becomes available, the post will be updated.
TRENTON (MERCER)– The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating a serious crash that occurred at Route 29 and Calhoun Street Monday night.
It occurred around 4:20 pm, when Trenton Police were sent to the scene on multiple callers reporting a serious crash. Officers discovered an overturned vehicle with a person trapped. Trenton Fire Department responded and quickly extricated the patient. The patient was handed over to Trenton EMS and Capital Health Paramedics in critical condition.
LAKEWOOD TOWNSHIP (OCEAN)– Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Lakewood Township Police Chief Gregory Meyer announced that on February 21, 2021, at approximately 7:40 p.m., Lakewood Township Police were summoned to the area of Tudor Court in response to a 911 call regarding a male who had collapsed in the middle of the road. Responding Officers found Dajour Randolph, 20, of Little Egg Harbor, with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest. Mr. Randolph was transported to Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus, in Lakewood, where he subsequently succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased.
Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Meyer wish to emphasize that this is an active and ongoing investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Lakewood Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and that there is no known danger to the public at this time.
Anyone in possession of information concerning this investigation is urged to contact Detective Brant Uricks of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, or Detective Eric Cicerello of the Lakewood Township Police Department at 732-363-0200.
BREAKING NEWS REPORT: This is a breaking news report based off of radio talk, on scene information, and close sources. Once information becomes available, the story will be updated and corrections will be made.
TRENTON (MERCER)– Two people were transported to the hospital with gunshot wounds Monday night after shots rang out in the 100 block of Sanhican Drive.
The double shooting occurred around 6:27 pm. Trenton Police responded to 110 Sanhican Drive, at the Sunoco Gas Station, after receiving multiple calls reporting two people shot. Officers arrived on scene and did, in fact, located two people shot at the location.
Trenton EMS, Capital Health Paramedics, and EMS engines from the Trenton Fire Department responded to the scene. Trenton EMS and Capital Health Paramedics transported both victims to Capital Health Regional Medical Center with “Trauma Alerts” called.
Sources close to the investigation tell MidJersey.News that early reports indicate that one of the victims is in critical condition.
The shooting is under investigation by Trenton Police Shooting Response Team.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on February 22, 2021, Mashon Wilson, 30, of Lakewood, was sentenced by the Honorable Steven F. Nemeth, J.S.C., to six years New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1, relative to a motor vehicle crash that occurred on November 25, 2018 in Lakewood. Judge Nemeth likewise sentenced Wilson to forty-five days in the Ocean County Jail with credit for time served, and suspended his driving privileges for a period of six months, regarding his guilty plea to Driving While Suspended in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, also in connection with the November 28, 2018 motor vehicle crash. Additionally, Wilson was sentenced to four years NJSP by Judge Nemeth as a result of his previously entered guilty plea to an unrelated charge of Burglary in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2. The sentences will run concurrently. Wilson pled guilty to all charges on January 8, 2021 before the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C.
On November 25, 2018, at approximately 7:00 a.m., Lakewood Police responded to the area of West County Line Road and Cedar Road to investigate a two vehicle accident involving a fatality. Upon arrival, they found that a 2019 Chevrolet Suburban had crashed into a tree; the driver was critically injured, and the passenger was pronounced dead on the scene. Further investigation determined that the other vehicle involved in the accident, a 2018 Nissan Sentra, had fled the scene. Police traced the car to a residence in Lakewood. At the residence, they located Wilson and two other individuals — Shayna Lee (49) and Iyanna Hall (30) — both of Lakewood. Lee and Hall told police that Lee was the driver of the Nissan in question, and had left the scene of the accident. Subsequent investigation revealed that Wilson was, in fact, the driver of the vehicle, and that Lee and Hall had given false statements to the police. Lee and Hall were both charged with Hindering the Apprehension of Another by Giving a False Statement to a Police Officer in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3a(7). Those charges remain pending.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Schron who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Lakewood Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation, ultimately resulting in Wilson’s state prison sentence.
Enabling Legislation Creates a Well-Regulated Adult-Use Cannabis Market
Additional Legislation Brings Equity and Fairness to Outdated Drug Laws
February 22, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed historic adult-use cannabis reform bills into law, legalizing and regulating cannabis use and possession for adults 21 years and older (A21 – “The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act”) and decriminalizing marijuana and hashish possession (A1897). The Governor also signed S3454, clarifying marijuana and cannabis use and possession penalties for individuals younger than 21 years old.
“Our current marijuana prohibition laws have failed every test of social justice, which is why for years I’ve strongly supported the legalization of adult-use cannabis. Maintaining a status quo that allows tens of thousands, disproportionately people of color, to be arrested in New Jersey each year for low-level drug offenses is unjust and indefensible,” said Governor Murphy. “This November, New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly in support of creating a well-regulated adult-use cannabis market. Although this process has taken longer than anticipated, I believe it is ending in the right place and will ultimately serve as a national model.
“This legislation will establish an industry that brings equity and economic opportunity to our communities, while establishing minimum standards for safe products and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on real public safety matters,” continued Governor Murphy. “Today, we’re taking a monumental step forward to reduce racial disparities in our criminal justice system, while building a promising new industry and standing on the right side of history. I’d like to thank the Legislature, advocates, faith leaders, and community leaders for their dedicated work and partnership on this critical issue.”
“At long last, New Jersey is turning the page on our previous treatment of marijuana use,” said Dianna Houenou, incoming Chair of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC). “I am excited to get to work building on the successes of the medical program and standing up the adult-use cannabis industry. It’s an honor to be part of this historic movement in New Jersey.”
“The failed War on Drugs has systematically targeted people of color and the poor, disproportionately impacting Black and Brown communities and hurting families in New Jersey and across our nation,” said U.S Senator Cory Booker. “Today is a historic day, and I applaud Governor Murphy, the legislature, and the many advocates for racial and social justice whose leadership is ensuring that New Jersey is at the forefront of equitable marijuana legalization policy. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to end the federal marijuana prohibition so we can finally begin healing the wounds of decades of injustice.”
“This is a historic reform that will have a real-life impact on social justice, law enforcement and the state’s economy,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “We can now move forward to correct social injustices at the same time that marijuana is made legal for adults. This will launch a new cannabis industry with the potential to create jobs and generate economic activity at a time when it is desperately needed. The decriminalization law is the most sweeping measure of its kind in the country and is a groundbreaking step in our continued effort to make criminal justice reforms that are fairer and more effective. This will help reduce the racial disparities and social inequities that have long plagued our criminal justice system.”
“For the last fifty years, marijuana criminalization has been used as a tool to propel mass incarceration,” said Senator Sandra Cunningham. “It has done immeasurable harm to Black and Brown communities around the country, and today we begin to right the ship here in New Jersey. I look forward to seeing the tangible impact this legislation has on our communities in the years to come.”
“I am proud to have been a driving force behind the most progressive decriminalization law in the country and I am grateful to finally see it enacted,” said Senator Teresa Ruiz. “Every day roughly 100 people in New Jersey are arrested for marijuana possession, this law is a move that offers individuals a second chance and ensures they do not become entangled in the criminal justice system. This is yet another step towards bringing justice and equity to our communities. Going forward, we must continue to look for creative solutions to reverse the generational impact the War on Drugs has had.”
“This will usher in a new era of social justice by doing away with the failed policy that criminalized the use of marijuana,” said Senator Nicholas Scutari, the leading advocate of legalizing adult-use marijuana in New Jersey over the past decade. “Too many people have been arrested, incarcerated and left with criminal records that disrupt and even destroy their lives. We don’t want the criminal justice system to be an unfair barrier to success. By implementing a regulated system that allows people age 21 and over to purchase limited amounts of marijuana for personal use we will bring marijuana out of the underground market where it can be controlled, regulated and taxed, just as alcohol has been for decades. New Jersey will now be a leader in legalizing a once stigmatized drug in ways that will help the communities hurt the most by the War on Drugs and realize the economic benefits of the new adult-use cannabis market.”
“We’re moving closer to the long-overdue need to end cannabis prohibition,” saidAssemblywoman Annette Quijano. “So much time, effort, and thought have gone into this legislation. We’ve continued conversations, for what I believe, has produced a stronger piece of legislation with a focused eye toward social justice and equity. This is the beginning of a new era of economic opportunity, social justice for marijuana possession, and hope for a better future for thousands of New Jersey residents.”
“With legalization comes an unprecedented opportunity for residents to clean the slate with expungement provisions and for communities to grow their economic base with businesses,” said Assemblyman Jamel Holley. “A key component of cannabis legalization is addressing social justice concerns. The fact that Black New Jerseyans are 3 or 4 times more likely to be arrested on cannabis charges has contributed to the disenfranchisement of black communities. We have the opportunity here to also right the wrongs in our society in regards to past criminal possession of cannabis. No matter where you stand in the legalized marijuana debate, there has been a clear understanding that minorities within our urban communities have been hit hardest in the so-called War on Drugs. During this entire campaign for legalization, there has been one united vocal stance: There was harm done in the past and it must be corrected.”
“This new law includes real, enterprising opportunities for New Jersey communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, along with more defined employment opportunities and a commission that requires diversity,” said Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake. “This will be a clear revenue generator for the State, and the social justice and diversity portion in the legislation remains imperative.”
“Undoubtedly, this is the largest regulatory undertaking the state has considered since the Casino Control Commission,” said Assemblywoman Angela McKnight. “Remaining at status quo meant continued disparity in arrests for African Americans and teens for amounts now to be considered personal use. We are moving the state in a direction more compassionate for cannabis and in line with what is happening across the country in regards to legalization.”
“This has been a long time coming in our State,” said Assemblyman Joseph Danielsen. “who chairs the Assembly Federal Relations and Oversight Reform Committee led the discussion on the bill in today’s hearing. “Social justice for black and brown communities, which have been generationally impacted by cannabis prohibition, and equity in business are priorities in this legislation. We cannot fairly, or effectively provide regulation without ensuring these communities stay at the forefront of the conversation.”
“New Jersey voters on November 3rd issued the Legislature a mandate: to provide the infrastructure for the legalization of cannabis in New Jersey. Today, we move on that directive by presenting legislation for discussion with fellow legislation and statewide stakeholders,” said Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly. “The War on Drugs in many ways became a war on particular communities, incarcerating millions of black and brown people and affecting families irreparably for decades. Our work on refining this legislation aims to correct the economic and social justice disparities surrounding cannabis use.”
“With Governor Murphy’s signature, the decades-long practice of racist marijuana enforcement will begin to recede, in a shift that emphasizes the urgency of building the most equitable framework possible for cannabis legalization,” said Amol Sinha, Executive Director of theAmerican Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, which is a founding member ofNew Jersey United for Marijuana Reform. “With this historic reform, New Jersey also shifts our approach to youth possession and use by moving away from the punitive status quo to a framework that values public health, harm reduction, and the well-being of young people. Our state’s cannabis laws can set a new standard for what justice can look like, with the removal of criminal penalties for possession and an unprecedented portion of tax revenue dedicated to addressing the harms wrought by the drug war. Signing these laws puts in motion the next phase of this effort: to work relentlessly to transform the principles of legalization into greater racial and social justice in New Jersey. This is a new beginning – and the culmination of years of advocacy – and we must keep in mind that it is only the start.”
Under A21, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) will promulgate regulations to govern the medical and adult-use industries and oversee the applications for licensing of cannabis businesses. The legislation further provides for the Legislature to reinvest cannabis revenues in designated “impact zones”; directs the CRC to promote diversity and inclusion in business ownership; and contains critical employment protections for people who engage in lawful behavior with respect to cannabis.
A1897 reforms criminal and civil penalties for marijuana and hashish offenses, as well as provides remedies for people currently facing certain marijuana charges. The bill prevents unlawful low-level distribution and possession offenses from being used in pretrial release, probation, and parole decisions and provides certain protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation. The bill also creates a pathway to vacate active sentences for certain offenses committed before enactment of the enabling legislation.
The Governor today also signed S3454 into law, clarifying penalties for marijuana and cannabis possession and consumption for individuals younger than 21 years old. The legislation corrects inconsistencies in A21 and A1897 concerning marijuana and cannabis penalties for those underage.
“I have been working on decriminalizing adult-use marijuana for well over three years now, and I am happy to finally see it become a reality,” said Senator Ronald Rice. “This is a common-sense and just law that gives an equal playing field for folks in communities of color. Many have argued that legalizing adult-use marijuana has been for social, economic and criminal justice, however, decriminalization for me, is equally as important. I will continue to watch closely and fight to ensure communities of color are treated equally.”
“This is only one piece in the many parts of change that must be done in the name of social justice for our communities. The War on Drugs in many ways became a war on particular communities, incarcerating millions of people and affecting families irreparably for decades,” said Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly. “The action we take now to help our black and brown communities who have been disproportionately affected by current laws surrounding cannabis use is critical to trauma for future generations.”
“There have been far too many people, especially those from Black and Hispanic communities, who have been negatively impacted by the criminalization of cannabis,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano. “There have been long-term impacts on the lives of all people in this state, but considerably those of color. This law is the product of taking a hard look at our current laws, listening to the will of the majority of New Jerseyans and taking a common-sense approach to cannabis offenses.”
“Black New Jerseyans are up to four times more likely to be arrested on cannabis charges than White people. It is a sad fact, a further painful reminder that so people in our communities have been disenfranchised for far too long,” said Assemblyman Jamel Holley. “There have always been glaring social justice concerns and obvious inequity in the high number of arrests of minority residents. Now, finally, this is the time for it to stop.”
“It’s time for the change we seek,” said Assemblywoman Angela McKnight. “New Jersey residents are not happy with the status quo and we need to move in a direction of compassion for the communities that have long been targeted by current regulatory criteria. The call for action, for social justice reform, is resounding throughout our nation. And it begins in New Jersey today.”
“Decriminalization and expungement for those who have been disproportionately incarcerated for marijuana offenses is well overdue in New Jersey and many other states throughout this nation,” said Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake. “A criminal marijuana charge has a detrimental effect on an individual’s opportunity to access higher education, obtain gainful employment, receive housing support, and address child custody issues. Not all communities are impacted equally by marijuana enforcement, measures to reduce the collateral consequences of criminal records are ones of racial, social, and economic justice. This is about social justice for a people who have endured the inequities in the law for generations.”
In December 2019, Governor Murphy signed one of the most progressive expungement reforms in the nation, giving individuals entangled in the criminal justice system the opportunity to fully participate in society. S4154 eliminated fees for expungement applications and additionally created a petition process for “clean slate” expungement for residents, as well as required the State to implement an automated clean slate expungement system. Furthermore, the bill required that low-level marijuana convictions be sealed upon the disposition of a case, preventing those convictions from being used against individuals in the future.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation (A1176) which requires the Department of Health to license certain hospitals to provide full-service diagnostic cardiac catheterization, primary angioplasty, and elective angioplasty services. This will expand access to these critical preventative measures and put them within reach of more New Jerseyans.“All New Jerseyans deserve easy access to procedures that can prevent serious illness or death, no matter where they live,” said Governor Murphy. “This law will allow for more hospitals to provide angioplasty services and ensure that those living in lesser populated areas of state are still able to take advantage of these preventative measures.”A1176 addresses a longstanding lack of licensed angioplasty facilities in several counties in the state. Under the legislation, hospitals that are not currently licensed surgery centers will be able to apply to the Department of Health to provide the following:
Full-service diagnostic cardiac catheterization services, provided the hospital thereafter performs at least 250 catheterizations per year, with each interventional cardiologist performing at least 50 catheterizations per year. The hospital must also participate in the DOH’s data collection programs and in national registries to monitor quality, outcomes, and compliance with State regulations;
Primary (emergency/acute) angioplasty services, provided the hospital has been licensed to provide full-service adult diagnostic catheterization services under the bill for at least six months; and
Elective angioplasty services, provided the hospital is licensed to provide primary angioplasty services under the bill or was licensed to participate in the C-PORT-E clinical trial or the State Elective Angioplasty Demonstration Project, and, thereafter, performs a minimum of 200 elective angioplasty procedures per year, with each interventional cardiologist performing at least 50 elective angioplasty procedures per year. The hospital must also ensure all prospective elective angioplasty patients undergo careful selection, screening, and risk stratification.
“Heart disease can be a very treatable illness when the right health measures are able to be taken by a patient in consultation with their medical professional,” said Assembly primary sponsors Andrew Zwicker, Roy Freiman, and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, in a joint statement. “Angioplasty saves lives every day, but far too often they are performed only in emergencies. Elective Angioplasty as a preventive measure can lessen symptoms, improve quality of life, and reduce mortality rates. Ensuring more medical centers are licensed for full-service elective angioplasty and its linked care will increase access to safe and preventative healthcare measures for residents combatting heart disease.” “Life-saving cardiac procedures have been modernized and made far safer over the last decade, so it is only fair and pragmatic for those seeking these critical surgeries to have every opportunity to access them with the greatest convenience possible,” said Senator Joseph Vitale, chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.“Right now there are only 29 hospitals in New Jersey licensed to provide elective angioplasty. That may sound like a lot, but the problem is that most of those hospitals are clustered in only 14 counties,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “This law is a way to give more opportunity to more residents who might seek out these services.”“Eleven New Jersey hospitals without on-site cardiac surgery units are now authorized to provide elective angioplasty and continue to do so,” said Senator Paul Sarlo. “This law will expand access to this procedure more widely, to more facilities, so that all those who seek to benefit from such surgeries and procedures are not hampered by logistical obstacles.”
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today announced Executive Order No. 225, which increases capacity limits for religious services and large sports and entertainment venues. Additionally, limited spectators will be allowed at collegiate sporting events, mirroring last week’s announcement on youth sporting events.“As our COVID-19 metrics continue to trend in the right direction and as we continue our aggressive vaccination effort, we believe we can safely take this step,” said Governor Murphy. “We have always strived to make accommodations wherever safely possible, be it with religious services, sporting events, entertainment venues, or in other sectors. I am pleased that we are able to increase these limits today and hopeful that the numbers continue to point in the right direction for further reopening steps.”The changes are as follows:
Religious Services Effective immediately
Religious services and celebrations, including wedding ceremonies, funerals, and memorial services that involve a religious service, will be able to operate at 50% capacity of the room in which they are held, with no cap on the number of individuals permitted to attend. Services were previously limited to 35% of the room, up to 150 individuals.
Individuals attending services will still be required to wear masks and sit six feet apart from those outside of their household group.
Collegiate Sporting Events Effective immediately
Operators of indoor and outdoor collegiate sports practices and competitions may allow up to two parents or guardians per each participating athlete.
Even including this limited number of parents and guardians, the total number of individuals at an indoor practice or competition cannot exceed 35% of the capacity of the room, and any outdoor space needs to accommodate all attendees with appropriate room for social distancing.
Collegiate athletic conferences retain the discretion to impose stricter protocols regarding spectators, including for events that take place in large venues.
Large Sports and Entertainment Venues Effective Monday, March 1 at 6:00 a.m.
Large sports and entertainment venues with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or more will be permitted to host a number of patrons and members of the public equal to 10% of capacity indoors and 15% of capacity outdoors.
Facilities that host such events must ensure that all attendees at the event remain six feet apart from other attendees, except that individuals who purchase or reserve tickets together may be seated together. Attendees will also be required to wear masks within the facility, except when eating or drinking.
Update from South Brunswick Police on Friday Night’s warehouse fire:
SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–At 7:05 pm Friday night, South Brunswick Police received a 911 call of a fire at the Sonoco warehouse at 5 Stults Road. All three South Brunswick Companies (Monmouth Junction, Kingston, and Kendall Park) responded, along with Monroe Fire District 3, Jamesburg, Plainsboro, and North Brunswick Fire Co. #2. Over 50 firefighters responded to the 2-alarm fire.
Firefighters from East Brunswick’s Old Bridge and Brookview Fire Companies, Griggstown, and Montgomery Township covered the empty South Brunswick stations.
Monmouth Junction Fire Chief Scott Smith said, “Firefighters encountered frozen hydrants on the property and on Stults Road, and had to use tankers from Cranbury, Jamesburg, Plainsboro, and Monroe to supply water to fight the fire.”
The fire involved the finished cardboard canisters manufactured by the facility, which were stored on plastic pallets and shrink-wrapped, then stacked 3 pallets high. Smith said, “Fortunately the sprinkler system and fire pump contained the fire to several stacks of the palletizing goods. Unfortunately, the fire and water caused several pallets to collapse, making it difficult for firefighters to locate and extinguish the seat of the fire.”
Firefighting crews had to be rotated frequently due to the manpower intensive efforts necessary to reach the seat of the fire, which was approximately 300 feet deep into the warehouse. A heavy smoke condition further complicated efforts, and took several hours to ventilate using large trailer-mounted fans from the Edison and Millstone Valley Fire Departments.
Firefighters remained on scene for several hours. Monmouth Junction First Aid Squad and North Brunswick First Aid and Rescue Squad were on scene but no injuries were reported. The fire is under investigation by the South Brunswick Township Fire Safety Bureau.