July 8, 2023
SOUTH RIVER, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Mark Tinitigan of the South River Police Department announce today that a South River man has been arrested and charged in connection with the fatal hit and run that occurred yesterday, July 7, 2023.
On July 7, 2023, at 4:21 P.M., South River police responded to the intersection of Whitehead Avenue and Russell Avenue following the report of a crash. Upon their arrival, authorities located the victim, a 14-year-old boy, who was struck by a white work van while riding his bicycle. The white work van fled the scene of the crash. The victim was transported to the hospital where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased.
An investigation led by Sergeant John Kenney of the South River Police Department and Sergeant Jonathan Berman of The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office identified Michael Arena, 63, of South River, as the perpetrator.
On July 7, 2023, Arena was taken into custody at his residence for questioning where he admitted to driving the vehicle at the time of the crash. Arena was arrested and charged with Aggravated Manslaughter and Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash. Arena is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Center pending the results of a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.
The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Sergeant Kenney of the South River Police Department at (732) 254-9002 X109 or Sergeant Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4328.
As in this case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Arena are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.