Day: February 17, 2023

Ewing Firefighters Extinguish Vehicle Fire

February 17, 2023

EWING, NJ (Mercer) – Ewing Township firefighters were called out to battle a vehicle fire this evening (Friday, Feb. 17). Volunteers from West Trenton Fire Company were dispatched at 6:54 p.m. to the WaWa located at the intersection of Parkway Avenue and Silvia Street/Scotch Road. When firefighters manning Engine 33 arrived on the scene they found a car, stopped in the middle of Parkway Avenue, already engulfed in flames. Engine 33’s crew stretched a hoseline and quickly knocked down all visible fire. Township career firefighters manning Squad 30 also responded and assisted with overhaul operations by using one of their powered rescue tools to pry open the hood to allow for complete extinguishment of any remaining fire in the engine compartment. Ewing police closed Parkway Avenue and detoured traffic until the burned vehicle was removed by a tow truck.  

Mayor Calls For Investigation Into Security Breaches At CURE Arena After Fatal Stabbing

February 17, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)-Mayor W. Reed Gusciora said in a press release “I want to express my deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of Khalil Glanton, who are suffering from this senseless murder at CURE Arena last evening. At a time when we should be celebrating the achievements of our basketball team, we are instead confronted with acts by individuals whose main goal it seems was to commit violence.  We cannot allow a tragedy like this to be the norm in our city.

The investigation of this tragic incident on County property will be led by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force. However, the Trenton Police Department will provide any necessary support and we ask that anyone with information contact the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406 or email to

We are calling on the County of Mercer to have an investigation into its security breaches at the CURE Arena. We need to ensure that all Mercer County personnel who operate a metal detector are adequately trained. We will have additional security for the first round of the NJSIAA tournament on Tuesday at Trenton Central High School.”

Smith Introduces Bill To Require Investigation Into Environmental Approval Process For Offshore Wind Projects

Nine dead whales in two months and still no answers from the Biden Administration

February 17, 2023

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Rep. Chris Smith (R-Manchester) today introduced legislation requiring an immediate, comprehensive investigation into the environmental approval process for offshore wind projects as Governor Murphy and the Biden Administration continue to ignore growing calls to pause offshore wind development over concerns about the recent A dead whale washes ashore in Manasquan on Monday, February 13th—the ninth one along the New Jersey-New York coastline since early December.

 “Nine dead whales have washed up on our beaches since early December, and we still have no meaningful answers from Governor Murphy or the Biden Administration on the broader impact of these projects on the marine environment as they rush to build the largest offshore wind farm in the nation,” said Smith, who has yet to receive a response from the Biden Administration after he urged two Biden Administration Secretaries late last month to pause the offshore wind activity.

“As part of a full-court press for answers, my legislation will investigate the level of transparency from federal agencies that greenlighted this aggressive offshore wind development and determine how much scrutiny was implemented in reviewing the environmental and maritime safety of this project, especially given its unprecedented size and scale,” Smith said.

            Smith’s bill would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO)—commonly known as the congressional watchdog—to investigate the sufficiency of the environmental review process for offshore wind projects, including the impacts on whales, finfish, marine mammals, benthic resources, commercial and recreational fishing, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, vessel traffic, tourism, and the sustainability of shoreline beaches and inlets.

The study mandated by Smith’s legislation would also examine whether federal agencies adequately consulted major stakeholders including county and local officials, commercial and recreational fishermen, local environmental groups, and Jersey Shore residents, as well as determine the estimated cost of these projects and who pays for them.

Smith, a longtime advocate for marine wildlife and the broader environmental and economic viability of the Jersey Shore, reiterated that “the lack of conclusive evidence disproving the link between offshore wind development and whale deaths is sufficient to require a pause until assurances can be made to the public that the environmental and maritime safety of these projects has been properly reviewed.”

Photos and video by: Ryan Mack, Jersey Shore Fire Response

Fatal Fire Under Investigation In Toms River

February 17, 2023

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on February 16, 2023, at approximately 3:00 p.m., Officers from the Toms River Township Police Department and Toms River Township Fire Departments were dispatched to a reported structure fire on Roberts Road. During the primary search of the residence, the body of a deceased male was discovered. The decedent’s body was transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River for a post mortem examination and identification. During the suppression of the fire, a firefighter was treated for a minor injury at Community Medical Center and released.

The origin and cause of the fire are currently under investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Township Bureau of Fire Prevention, and the Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Additional information will be released to the public as it becomes available.

16-Year-Old Allentown High School Student Suffers Fatal Injuries After Being Struck By Car While Jogging

February 17, 2023

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Sgt. Philip Curry of the New Jersey State Police Public Information Unit stated that a crash occurred at 7:46 a.m. on County Route 539 northbound at mile post 37.72 in Upper Freehold Twp. The preliminary investigation revealed that a Kia Soul was traveling north on CR-539 when it struck a 16-year-old pedestrian. After impacting the pedestrian, the Kia crossed the center line and traveled up a grass embankment. As a result of the crash the pedestrian sustained fatal injuries. The crash remains under investigation.

Letter sent to Staff, Parents, and Students this afternoon from Mark Guterl Superintendent of Schools:

February 17, 2023

Dear UFRSD Family,

It is with great sadness that I must inform you about the tragic loss of one of our students. This morning we learned that a student from Allentown High School was struck by a car while jogging. Having gone through the UFRSD school system, this passing has deeply impacted our entire school community. 

The UFRSD staff at each of our schools was informed of the student’s passing during the school day. Counseling support services were and continue to be available. Members of our Crisis Team have been working with our counselors and other staff members to help students and staff deal with this difficult news.

We encourage and invite any student or staff member who needs support during this difficult time to come to Allentown High School tomorrow, Saturday, February 18 between 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. where our school counselors will be available for support. 

Please realize that reactions to death are varied and can depend upon such factors as age, personality, previous losses, and relationship to the victim.  If you feel your child has been affected by this situation, you can assist your child by doing the following:

  • Take time to listen to and talk with your child about what has happened.
  • Reassure your child that you will be available to help them through this difficult time.
  • Help your child verbalize some of the feelings they might be feeling but are unable to express.
  • Reassure your child that you will do all you can to keep them safe.  Providing specific examples may help to reduce some of the fear and anxiety.
  • Discuss some of the things you and your child might do to express your concern for the family.   

As it is a long weekend, don’t hesitate to reach out at any time if you are in need of support in any way.

Mark Guterl
Superintendent of Schools

Kidnapping and Aggravated Assault Charges Against Man Accused of Holding a Woman Hostage for Nearly a Year as They Traveled Across Country to New Jersey

February 17, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police today announced the arrest of a man charged with kidnapping a woman he met in New Mexico last year, traveling to New Jersey with her, and assaulting her in the Burlington County residence where they rented a room.

James W. Parrillo Jr., 57, was arrested on February 7, after the woman allegedly escaped from the Bass River Township residence they shared and fled to a nearby gas station. Parrillo is charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree strangulation and aggravated assault, and third-degree criminal restraint.

According to information placed on the record during court proceedings and documents filed in the case, the victim met the defendant, whom she knew as “Brett Parker”, at a gas station on Interstate 10 in New Mexico sometime in February 2022. At his request, she agreed to give him a ride to Arizona. The woman said she was in a voluntary relationship with the defendant for about a month when he physically assaulted her while the two were in California, at which point she felt unable to leave the relationship. During their time together, Parrillo allegedly took away the woman’s phone, confiscated and utilized her debit cards, and isolated her from her family. The pair allegedly arrived in New Jersey sometime in December.

Parrillo was detained at the Burlington County Jail pending trial following a hearing before Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Garringer in Burlington County on Wednesday. In successfully arguing for pre-trial detention, Assistant Attorney General Theresa Hilton said information provided by the alleged victim, along with information found on social media and other online sites, indicate that Parrillo may have engaged in similar predatory conduct with individuals in other states and that public safety demands he not be released.

“This is a deeply disturbing case in which the defendant allegedly held a woman against her will for nearly a year, while traveling with her throughout the country, before ending up here in New Jersey where she was able to escape,” said Attorney General Platkin. “We are reaching out to law enforcement across jurisdictions to identify other people who may have additional information on the defendant. Our investigation is ongoing and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure we bring justice to this survivor.”

“The allegations of kidnapping and abuse at the hands of the defendant represent a year-long nightmare endured by the victim that spanned several states across the country ultimately coming to an end here in New Jersey,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The dedication and diligence of the troopers, detectives, and members of the Division of Criminal Justice is to be commended, but the strength and bravery of the female victim who successfully escaped her assailant is nothing short of heroic. We encourage anyone who has information or evidence related to the criminal allegations against the defendant to contact the New Jersey State Police.”

“The allegations, if proven, demonstrate a level of predatory conduct that poses an extreme danger to anyone who crosses paths with this defendant,” said Director Pearl Minato of the Division of Criminal Justice. “I commend the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice for working together to quickly apprehend this man and ensure that he remains in custody while these various serious charges are pending. If you or someone you know has any additional information regarding this defendant, we urge you to contact the New Jersey State Police at 855-363-6548.”

According to statements made in court and documents filed in the case, Parrillo and the alleged victim had been staying in the rented room in Bass for about two weeks when she managed to escape. Noticing an interior deadbolt on the door of a nearby gas station during a prior visit, the alleged victim planned to flee to safety there when an opportunity presented itself. On February 7, when Parrillo began beating and choking her during an argument inside the residence, which they shared with several other individuals. Parrillo allegedly ceased assaulting the woman when he realized the two were not alone in the house and she ran from the house with nothing on but shorts and a shirt in the 42-degree weather. Once inside the gas station, the woman bolted the

door and told an attendant she had been kidnapped for approximately a year. Footage from the station’s security camera shows Parrillo following the woman to the gas station and attempting to open the door, then leaving when he found it locked. An attendant at the station summoned New Jersey State Police who apprehended Parrillo a short time later as he walked down County Road 542. Parrillo is also charged with third-degree hindering apprehension, and fourth-degree obstruction and refusing to provide a DNA sample.

Assistant Attorney General Theresa Hilton is prosecuting the case for the Division of Criminal Justice, with assistance from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.

An ongoing investigation is being led by New Jersey State Police.

First-degree kidnapping carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three of five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The charges against the defendant are merely accusations he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The Office of the Attorney General acknowledges the contributions made by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Prosecutor Lachia L. Bradshaw, to this investigation.

Defense Attorney: Anthony Rizzo, Esq.

James W. Parrillo Jr.

*Known to Go By Different Names*

If You or Someone You Know Has Information on This Man

Please Call New Jersey State Police at 855-363-6548

Traffic Alert: County Road 539 In Upper Freehold Closed Due To Crash

February 17, 2023

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Around 7:45 a.m. Upper Freehold Firefighters/ Hope Fire Company of Allentown was dispatched to County Road 539 near Arneytown Hornerstown Road for a pedestrian accident just north of County Road 537 / Monmouth Road.

Hope Fire Company reports: Crews are operating at a serious incident at the intersection of 539 & 537. Due to the severity of the incident the intersection is shut down. Please avoid at all costs and use caution in the area.

Allentown Captial Heath EMS is also on scene and requested a second ambulance.

New Jersey State Police are on scene investigating.

When further details become available the story will be updated.