ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey State Police, Robbinsville Fire Department and EMS responded to two overturned tractor trailer crashes on the New Jersey Turnpike this afternoon.
The first crash was dispatched at 3:59 p.m., to NJ Turnpike outer roadway mile post 61 just north of Exit 7A closing all outer lanes of the roadway. When firefighters arrived they found an overturned tractor trailer and no reported injuries.
The second crash was dispatched at 4:37 p.m., to the NJ Turnpike north bound outer roadway ramp to Exit 7A just south of the exit. When firefighters arrived to the second overturned tractor trailer it was determined that there were no injuries.
It appears that the outer roadway has been reopened and the right lane closed. The NJ Turnpike was reporting a 2-mile traffic delay in the area.
Just yesterday there was another truck crash at Exit 7A you can read that MidJersey.news story here:
LAKEWOOD, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that John Filistovich, 59, of Lakewood, has been extradited from Salisbury, Maryland to Ocean County, New Jersey in connection with the murder of Betty Perry, 60, of Lakewood. Filistovich is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
On May 30, 2023, at approximately 12:15 p.m., Lakewood Township Police responded to a residence on Thornbury Court to conduct a welfare check on Betty Perry. Responding Officers made entry into the residence and found the deceased body of a female, later identified as Betty Perry, on the floor of the bedroom.
A subsequent investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Lakewood Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, revealed that Filistovich and Ms. Perry lived together and were in a dating relationship. Further investigation revealed that a 2015 Hyundai Elantra belonging to Ms. Perry was not at the residence.
On May 30, 2023, investigating Detectives received information that Maryland State Troopers encountered Filistovich on the side of the road near Salisbury, Maryland, in the victim’s vehicle. Filistovich was transported to a local medical facility in Salisbury.
On May 30, 2023, Filistovich was charged with Theft in connection with the unlawful taking of Ms. Perry’s vehicle.
On May 31, 2023, the Ocean County Medical Examiner performed a post-mortem examination of Ms. Perry and determined the cause of death to be blunt force injuries to the head, neck, and chest with asphyxiation, and the manner of death to be homicide. The investigation in this matter has resulted in Filistovich being identified as the individual responsible for Ms. Perry’s death.
On June 1, 2023, Filistovich was released from the medical facility in Salisbury, Maryland, and taken into custody. He was subsequently transferred to the Wicomico County Corrections Center, also located in Salisbury, and thereafter extradited to Ocean County.
The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
QSAC Report Gives High Marks in Five Key Performance Categories
June 13, 2023
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER) – The Robbinsville Public Schools received some welcomed news this morning – a notice from the state Department of Education that essentially gives the school district an “A” grade.
The findings – following mandatory financial audits and a comprehensive review by the state –show the Robbinsville Public Schools are “high performing,” financially strong, and operating at peak performance, as per the Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC).
“I am thrilled to share that Robbinsville Public Schools is designated as a `high-performing’ school district, and we have received passing scores in all five areas,” said Schools Superintendent Brian J. Betze.
In order for a school district to pass a section, it must meet the 80% threshold in all five areas of analysis. The Robbinsville schools exceeded this threshold in all five categories, with two of them being perfect.
However, with a score of 85% in “Instruction and Program, the Robbinsville schools need to improve test scores in both math and English Language Arts (ELA), the findings noted.
“The state’s findings support the revisions we are making to the schedules at the middle and elementary schools, as well as updating our ELA program for grades K-8 and the math curriculum for grades K-8,” the superintendent said.
State education officials conduct the QSAC assessment every three years for all New Jersey school districts. The state reviews 55 curriculum documents and 189 indicators.
“The state wants to ensure full compliance within all of our operations,” Betze explained. “The state examines finances, operations, governance, procedures, curriculum, instruction and facilities. It is a very deep dive, to the point in which state inspectors ensure fire extinguishers are up to code. They even check to see if closet doors close properly and flush all the toilets.”
The Robbinsville Public Schools made significant progress in the past three years and now meets the criteria for being considered a “high-performing” district, as shown in the chart below.
Instruction and Program
“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to my administrative team for going above and beyond the QSAC standards,” Betze said. “Additionally, I would like to express my gratitude to our diligent staff members, whose commitment to our students is reflected in Robbinsville’s new designation as high-performing. It is through the collective efforts of everyone involved that we have achieved outstanding accomplishments.”
The state also looks at long-term planning as part of a comprehensive assessment. The school district, under Betze’s direction, is completing a strategic planning process that began in the winter, comprising more than 110 community volunteers.
The group met monthly to set a long-term direction for improving student achievement. Community recommendations are incorporated in a draft Robbinsville Public Schools 2023-2028 Strategic Plan, which the school board is expected to adopt this month.
Manchester Twp NJ – On Monday, June 12, 2023, at approximately 2:59 pm, members of the Manchester Township Police responded to the area of Congasia Road near the intersection of Sunset Road, for the report of a vehicle that crashed into two parked vehicles and overturned.
Upon arrival, officers observed a white 2021 Subaru Crosstrek overturned on top of a white 2017 Hyundai Elantra with the driver of the Subaru trapped inside the vehicle. First responders were able to stabilize the Subaru and extricate the driver. The driver of the Subaru, 84-year-old, Anna Grissell of Whiting, NJ, sustained injuries to her abdomen and neck. She was observed to have been wearing her seatbelt and the vehicle had side curtain airbag deployment. Mrs. Grissell was transported via medevac helicopter to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center for treatment of her injuries where she is currently listed as non-critical and stable condition.
The investigation revealed that the Subaru was traveling northbound on Congasia Road approaching the intersection of Sunset Road in an area of the roadway that is curved. The Subaru failed to properly negotiate the curve in the roadway. At that point, the Subaru drove off the roadway to the left and struck a sign. The Subaru continued through the intersection of Sunset Road, where it left the roadway a second time. The Subaru then impacted a second sign, went airborne for approximately 50 feet, struck various shrubbery and trees, and ultimately impacted a bush. The bush caused the Subaru to get pushed onto the vehicle’s driver side two tires and subsequently onto the driver side of the vehicle. The Subaru then continued advancing forward, entered the parking lot of Deerfield Hall located at 6 Congasia Road, and impacted two parked vehicles, identified as the Hyundai and a white 2007 Toyota Camry. The impact with the parked vehicles caused the Subaru to vault into the air and land on top of the Hyundai. The Hyundai and Toyota were both unoccupied at the time of the crash.
TRENTON – Yesterday, Governor Phil Murphy submitted comments to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) expressing his Administration’s opposition to the Final Environmental Assessment and the Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Central Business District Tolling Program. The comments mark the Administration’s most recent stand against a poorly designed tolling program – devised without adequate input and regard for New Jersey’s interests – that, if allowed to go forward, will unfairly toll New Jersey commuters while disproportionately burdening environmental justice communities in the Garden State.
Since the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) first revealed its proposed tolling program, Governor Murphy has remained a staunch advocate for the New Jersey commuters, transportation agencies, businesses, and residents who would suffer unjustly as a result of the unreasonable and unprecedented proposal. The FHWA is deciding whether to allow the MTA’s plans to go forward without a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and the comments submitted by the Murphy Administration argue that this additional review is necessary to address impacts on New Jersey and its residents.
“We have always been receptive to a thoughtfully crafted congestion pricing proposal,” said Governor Murphy. “But we take serious issue with any scheme that is designed not to lessen congestion or pollution, but to line the coffers of the MTA on the backs of hardworking New Jerseyans. Despite the limited environmental review conducted so far, what remains obvious are the severe and long-lasting detriments that will be endured not just by our commuters and transportation agencies, but by residents of environmental justice communities who will see traffic unfairly redirected into their neighborhoods. Until the appropriate environmental review is completed for a project that will literally affect millions of New Jerseyans, we will continue to evaluate every legal option at our disposal.”
In addition to highlighting the anticipated effects of the MTA’s proposal on New Jersey transportation agencies and environmental justice communities, the Administration’s comments highlight a litany of errors in the MTA’s environmental assessment that should prevent the FHWA from allowing the project to proceed without a full EIS. Among other problems, the proposal fails to guarantee New Jersey commuters full credit for tolls paid to cross bridges and tunnels into New York City, contemplates unreasonable tolls on commuter buses, and does not adequately address increased traffic and pollution that the proposal would cause in New Jersey communities.
June 15th Event to Educate, Raise Awareness of Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation, The Symposium will run from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Brower Student Center at The College of New Jersey
June 13, 2023
TRENTON – In commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on Thursday, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) are hosting a statewide symposium of government and private organizations dedicated to protecting seniors from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
The event, which is free and open to all members of the public, will feature an expert panel to present an overview of elder abuse and provide resources and information on how to identify, prevent, and report crimes against the elderly.
OAG and OIFP are hosting the event with the New Jersey Elder Protection Task Force.
In 2018, OIFP’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit launched the Elder Protection Task Force to investigate allegations of financial exploitation, abuse, or neglect of elderly and incapacitated adults receiving Medicaid benefits in New Jersey or who reside in NJ facilities that receive Medicaid benefits.
“Elder abuse robs seniors of their dignity, their security, and can even cost them their lives. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on this shameful crime and help end it,” said Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “The Department of Law and Public Safety is working year-round to protect the safety and well-being of older New Jerseyans, and hold accountable those who prey on the vulnerabilities of our seniors. This Symposium is a chance for the public – including elderly residents and those who care for them – to learn about the resources available to protect seniors and to meet with people dedicated to keeping them safe from harm.”
“The biggest impediment to combatting elder abuse is that abusers often target victims who are isolated or have limited ability to communicate what is happening to them. That’s why we need as many eyes and ears as possible listening and watching for signs that someone is being abused,” said Al Garcia, Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. “A primary goal of our annual WEAAD Symposium is to educate the public on what to look for and where to report abuses or concerning conduct they see. Our Symposium also empowers seniors to be their own advocates and lets them know that we are here for them and ready to employ our resources to help them and protect them.”
The WEAAD Symposium will include speakers representing the Division of Consumer Affairs and its Bureau of Securities, the New Jersey Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Topics include the latest financial schemes targeting seniors, including cryptocurrency scams, lottery fraud, romance, and tech-support scams, and how artificial intelligence systems are already making it easier for scammers to con seniors out of their money. The event will include free breakfast and lunch for attendees, musical entertainment, chair yoga, and vendor tables with giveaways.
The Symposium will run from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Brower Student Center at The College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ 08628. Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m. Space is limited and registration is required. To register online, please visit: https://www.njoag.gov/eaa-registration. To register by phone or for more information, please call (609) 292-1272. If you suspect that an older person is being abused anywhere in New Jersey, you can report it by also calling 609-292-1272.
TRENTON — A state grand jury voted to file criminal charges Monday, June 12, against suspended Manville Police Chief Thomas Herbst, who allegedly engaged in sexually inappropriate, criminal acts targeting multiple women against their will for years.
Attorney General Matthew J. Platkintoday announced the grand jury returned an eight-count indictment against Herbst, 55, of Bridgewater, who was arrested and charged in April following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA).
New Jersey residents called to serve on the grand jury returned a “true bill” in the case, charging Herbst with two counts of sexual assault, four counts of official misconduct, one count of a pattern of official misconduct, and one count of criminal sexual contact.
The indictment includes a new count covering suspected misconduct by Herbst following his suspension, after the investigation found that the defendant deliberately held onto a Manville Police badge he was required to turn in after he was suspended from the force. The investigation revealed Herbst displayed the badge he wrongfully retained when he was pulled over by a local police officer on January 30, 2023, misrepresenting himself as an active-duty member of the police department.
“We expect those who swear an oath to uphold and enforce the law to be honorable, committed to the cause of justice, and dedicated to public service, and we require that they follow the law themselves,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Herbst allegedly established an unsafe toxic work environment for women where power was abused. His conduct, as alleged, was unacceptable and criminal, and we expect to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law for these alleged abuses of the public’s trust.”
“Police chiefs should be a positive example for their officers and the people of their communities,” said Thomas Eicher, the Executive Director of OPIA. “We allege that, instead, Herbst used his rank and the badge inappropriately to benefit himself, including after he was suspended from the job for his previous conduct. The grand jury returned criminal charges based on alleged conduct that falls far outside the professional standards and the responsibilities that come with the uniform.”
Herbst is accused of unwanted sexual behavior toward at least three women. According to the investigation, the chief regularly groped, exposed himself to, sexually harassed, and sexually assaulted an employee of the police department who reported directly to him, using coercion and doing so without the victim’s consent, between 2008 and 2021. The attacks often happened while he and the victim were on duty, and many of the alleged attacks took place in various locations at police headquarters.
In one of the earlier attacks, the defendant called the victim into his office and told her he would allow her to leave work early. He then stood next to the chair in which she was sitting in a way that prevented her from getting out. He then removed his penis from his pants, masturbated, and ejaculated into her hair and onto her clothing. He told her he was sorry and directed her to go home.
Acts like the initial attack allegedly occurred repeatedly, but eventually escalated to acts of assault by penetration.
Investigators say the defendant at one point ordered the one victim to begin wearing skirts to work to facilitate and escalate the assaults. On occasion, he would arrange to meet her at a motel to assault her, and at one point when she resisted, he accused her of disobeying orders.
Herbst also allegedly attacked the victim in her own home, entering through the backdoor of her home uninvited and sexually assaulting the victim. Investigators say that, in an attempt to avoid those encounters, the victim began closing her blinds, locking her doors, and parking in her garage so that when the defendant drove by, he would not know she was home.
According to the investigation, Herbst also solicited sexual favors from the wife of one of his subordinate officers in order for that officer to receive favorable employment decisions and opportunities. In one instance, the defendant texted his subordinate demanding oral sex from the employee’s wife in exchange for a promotion. That conduct violated Borough of Manville sexual harassment policies prohibiting a borough employee from requesting sexual favors when submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for an employment decision affecting a municipal employee.
Evidence additionally revealed the defendant went to the newly purchased home of another victim, who had previously been his subordinate, and while touring the house, sexually assaulted her.
The charges against the defendant are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Attorneys General Samantha Thoma and Andrew Wellbrock, under the supervision of Corruption Bureau Deputy Chiefs Heather Hausleben and Jeff Manis, Bureau Chief Peter Lee, OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione and OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher.
Comprehensive data warehouse is a unique statewide view into criminal justice data
June 13, 2023
TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Office of Justice Data (OJD) announced the public release of the State’s first comprehensive data warehouse visualizing de-identified information on arrests in New Jersey from 2017 to 2022, including warrants, charges, dispositions, restitution, and fines, as well as demographic data. For the first time, the Criminal Justice Data Dashboard allows users to navigate – in a single repository – charts and figures of New Jersey’s criminal justice system from the time defendants enter the criminal justice system to the final disposition of the case. The dashboard is being released in compliance with N.J.S.A. 52:17B-111.1(1)(a) (the “Statute”), requiring the State to “collect, record, and analyze data regarding defendants in this State who are age 18 or older at the time of the commission of an alleged indictable offense or disorderly persons offense.”
“Under Governor Murphy, New Jersey continues to demonstrate its commitment to transparency and the importance of using data to make informed decisions, craft policy, and build public trust,” said Attorney General Platkin. “This unprecedented effort to consolidate criminal justice data spread across various State, County, and local government agencies will allow policy makers, stakeholders, advocates and any member of the public to view data on arrestees and continues our quest to ensure a fair, just, and equitable criminal justice system in New Jersey.”
“This Dashboard supports New Jerseyans by providing readily available, easily queried data for a wide range of policy evaluation applications and responses to data requests.” said Dr. Kristin Golden, Chief Data Officer for OJD. “With the launch of this dashboard, New Jersey has a state-wide snapshot of data on persons involved in the criminal justice system.”
The Statute’s mandate presented a significant challenge undertaken by the OJD. The data released in the Criminal Justice Data Dashboard has been consolidated from across multiple records systems maintained by various State, County, and local government agencies. The OJD has built a new, comprehensive statewide criminal justice data system that integrates records from multiple sources. The comprehensive dashboard compiles data from each step in the process from arrest to disposition – including charges, case status, final dispositions, court fines, fees, and restitution amounts ordered, and limited information on victims of crime.
The Office of Justice Data coordinates data collection and analysis across the Department of Law and Public Safety, ensuring the Department meets various statutory obligations. Working with other criminal justice and law enforcement stakeholders, OJD helps to ensure that the office’s policymaking is rooted in data and rigorous statistical analysis. With a particular focus on criminal justice data, OJD promotes transparency and accountability through timely and accessible public data releases. Since it was established in 2021, OJD has supported the Office of the Attorney General and developed multiple dashboards that provide public transparency in police use of force, internal affairs complaints, major discipline, and law enforcement diversity.