Category: Manahawkin

Manahawkin Man Indicted For Aggravated Manslaughter And Vehicular Homicide

June 24, 2021

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on June 24, 2021, Michael Pillarella, 27, of Manahawkin, was indicted by a Grand Jury sitting in Ocean County on the charge of Aggravated Manslaughter in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a(1), in connection with a motor vehicle crash that occurred in Little Egg Harbor Township during the evening hours of January 30, 2021 – resulting in the death of a female juvenile victim.  Pillarella was also indicted on charges of Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5a; Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.3; Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1); and Assault by Auto in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1c(2).

On January 30, 2021, at approximately 9:45 p.m., officers from the Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department responded to the area of Radio Road and Baltusrol Court for a report of a two-vehicle crash with serious injuries.  An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Little Egg Harbor Police Department revealed that a 2017 Hyundai Elantra, operated by Pillarella, was traveling northbound on Radio Road when he failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway, crossed over the centerline, and struck an oncoming 2006 Toyota XB travelling southbound on Radio Road.  The Toyota XB was operated by a juvenile, and there was also a juvenile passenger in the vehicle.  As a result of the crash, both juveniles sustained serious injuries and were subsequently airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.

Pillarella was airlifted to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Trauma Center in Atlantic City for treatment of his injuries from the crash.  A warrant was obtained for a draw of Pillarella’s blood.  Pillarella was treated and released from the hospital, and was initially issued several motor vehicle summonses.  

Further investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Little Egg Harbor Police Department resulted in the filing of additional charges against Pillarella on February 1, 2021 for Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1) and Assault by Auto in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1c(2) — two counts as to each offense relating to both juvenile victims.  Pillarella was taken into custody without incident on that date by officers from the Little Egg Harbor Police Department, and he has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since his arrest. On February 9, 2021, the female juvenile passenger in the Toyota XB succumbed to the injuries she sustained as a result of the January 30, 2021 crash.  She was pronounced deceased at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.  As a consequence, the charges against Pillarella were upgraded to include Aggravated Manslaughter in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a(1) and Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5a relative to the female juvenile passenger.  The charges of Aggravated Assault and Assault by Auto are in connection with the female juvenile driver – who continues to recover from her serious injuries – remained in force and effect.

On February 15, 2020, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office received the laboratory results relative to Pillarella’s blood draw; those results revealed that Pillarella was under the influence of Alprazolam, Methadone, and Fentanyl at the time of the crash, and that he was unfit to safely operate a motor vehicle on the roadways of the State of New Jersey.  Additionally, further investigation revealed that Pillarella was operating his motor vehicle at an excessive rate of speed – approximately 74 miles per hour at the time of the crash – for which he was charged with Speeding in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-98.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy and Assistant Prosecutor Alyssa Mandara who are handling 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, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative assistance in connection with this investigation resulting in today’s indictment.

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.

R.P.C. 3.6(b)(6).


Ground Breaking on Final Phase of Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges Project

April 23, 2021

SHIP BOTTOM, NJ (OCEAN)–Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, Ship Bottom Mayor William Huelsenbeck, and Stafford Township Mayor Gregory Myhre today marked the beginning of the final phase of the award-winning Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project.

“Today, work on the final aspect of the long-term rebuild and rehabilitation of the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge will get underway in earnest,” said Governor Murphy. “With new lanes that will be constructed at-grade and drainage and other improvements that will be made underground, the entirety of this project is part-and-parcel of our overall goal of ensuring the safe, modern, and resilient infrastructure that our state needs.” 

“The Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project is an excellent example of how the Murphy Administration and the New Jersey Department of Transportation deliver projects that improve safety and improve the quality of life in our communities,” NJDOT Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “Today we are marking the beginning of the final contract of this project, but our commitment to this community will continue long after the asphalt is cured and the crews go home.”

“This project was introduced in 1993 and proposed by the Department of Transportation in 2007,” said Ship Bottom Mayor William Huelsenbeck. “It has now become a reality and Ship Bottom, ‘The Gateway of Long Beach Island,’ couldn’t be happier.” 

“We appreciate the improvements that the NJDOT has made in Stafford Township over the past several years and we look forward to continuing our mutually beneficial relationship,” said Stafford Township Mayor Gregory Myhre.

“Throughout the past year, we have been reminded of the importance of working together. As we recover and move forward, working together will be paramount to our success,” said Dave Velazquez, President and CEO of Pepco Holdings, which includes Atlantic City Electric. “Today, we are recognizing an incredibly important project that demonstrates how collaboration between the public and private sectors can help us efficiently upgrade New Jersey’s infrastructure, making it more accessible, stronger and resilient in the face of a changing climate and more extreme weather.”

This final construction contract for the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project is designed to improve safety and reduce congestion in Stafford Township at the Marsha Drive/Route 72 intersection and in Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island. In Stafford Township, Marsha Drive will be widened to provide double left turn lanes onto Route 72, and a third lane will be added on Route 72 in both directions near the intersection. 

In Ship Bottom, approximately 3,000 feet of Route 72 (locally known as 8th and 9th Streets) and three cross roads (Barnegat Avenue, Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard) will be widened. Two-way traffic will be restored along Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard. Five traffic signals will be reconstructed, and a new traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of 8th Street and Long Beach Boulevard. In addition, a new storm drainage system and new outfalls will be installed in an effort to reduce frequent flooding along Route 72 and these intersections. 

The $312 million Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges Project was broken up into five contracts and involved the construction of a new bridge parallel to the existing Manahawkin Bay Bridge, the rehabilitation of the existing bridge, and the rehabilitation of three trestle bridges. There have been improvements made to bicycle and pedestrian facilities, as well as environmental mitigation.  Construction began in 2013 and is expected to be complete in 2022.  

The new bridge carries eastbound traffic, while the rehabilitated Old Causeway Bridge carries the westbound traffic. Environmental mitigation and improvements to Cedar Bonnet Island were completed including wetland creation, mitigation for freshwater wetlands, and a public walking trail.

The project has been recognized by the Federal Highway Association and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials for environmental excellence and for improving the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. 

For more information about the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project, visit NJDOT’s project-specific website





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Update: Manahawkin Man Man Faces Additional Charges Involving Crash On January 30, 2021

February 1, 2021

Related MidJersey.News story here: 3 Airlifted To Trauma Centers Following Serious Crash, 26 Year Old Charged With Reckless Driving

LITTLE EGG HARBOR, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on February 1, 2021, Michael Pillarella, 26, of Manahawkin, was arrested and charged with two counts of Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1), and two counts of Assault by Auto in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1c(2), relative to a motor vehicle crash that occurred in Little Egg Harbor Township during the evening hours of January 30, 2021.

On January 30, 2021, at approximately 9:45 p.m., officers from the Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department responded to the area of Radio Road and Baltusrol Court for a report of a two-vehicle crash with serious injuries.  An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Little Egg Harbor Police Department revealed that a 2017 Hyundai Elantra, operated by Pillarella, was traveling northbound on Radio Road when he failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway, crossed over the centerline, and struck an oncoming 2006 Toyota XB travelling southbound on Radio Road.  The Toyota XB was operated by a juvenile, and there was also a juvenile passenger in the vehicle.  As a result of the crash, both juveniles sustained serious injuries and were subsequently airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where they remain listed in critical condition.

Pillarella was airlifted to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Trauma Center in Atlantic City for treatment of his injuries from the crash.  A search warrant was obtained for a draw of Pillarella’s blood, and laboratory results remain pending.  Pillarella was treated and released from the hospital, and was initially issued motor vehicle summonses for Reckless Driving in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-96, and Failure to Maintain Lane in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-88 on January 31, 2021. 

An ongoing investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Little Egg Harbor Police Department has resulted in the filing of additional charges against Pillarella for Aggravated Assault and Assault by Auto – two counts as to each offense relating to both juvenile victims.  Pillarella was taken into custody today without incident by officers from the Little Egg Harbor Police Department.  He was processed at Little Egg Harbor Police Headquarters, and transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he remains lodged pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative assistance in connection with this investigation resulting in Pillarella’s arrest.

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.

Sandy Fraud Contractors Indicted, 18 Counts Involving Theft Of Funds

January 7, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on January 6, 2021, Jonathan Price, 43, of Manahawkin, and Scott Cowan, 58, of Demarest, were indicted by an Ocean County Grand Jury for eighteen counts of Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Property (Funds) Received in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-9.

An extensive investigation by Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit revealed that Price and Cowan established the now-defunct Price Home Group, LLC, in February 2013 in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. From March of 2013 through March of 2016, Price Home Group entered into contracts with thirty-one homeowners in multiple towns throughout Ocean and Atlantic Counties to repair Sandy-ravaged homes or elevate their homes to protect them from future storms. The investigation revealed that despite having received considerable compensation in excess of two-million dollars from these individuals, Price and Cowan performed little to no work on the victims’ homes, and instead misappropriated the monies for their own personal use. Price and Cowan were arrested and charged on May 29, 2019.

“These two defendants preyed upon numerous homeowners who were at the lowest, most vulnerable points of their lives following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. They took advantage of people who were utterly helpless, who trusted that the defendants would help them get them back into their homes as quickly as possible,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “Rather than honor their contractual obligations, these defendants betrayed the victims’ trust in favor of their own unjust enrichment, and now they will be made to answer for their unscrupulous behavior,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Stafford Township Police Department, Little Egg Harbor Police Department, Toms River Township Police Department, Long Beach Township Police Department, Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs, and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, for assisting the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in conducting this very extensive and thorough investigation.

The public and media are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Trump Boat Parade Draws Thousands

September 6, 2020

SHIP BOTTOM, NJ (OCEAN)–Estimates of 2,500 boats participated in a Trump Boat Parade that was also supporting Law Enforcement Officers and Veterans yesterday.

Boaters are congregated at the mouth of Tom’s River in Barnegat Bay and split into two major groups north bound and south bound.

The northbound parade started at the mouth of Toms River and past the Mantoloking Bridge, F-Cove and Bay Head.

The southbound parade started from the mouth of the Toms River and went past the Manahawkin Bridge all the way down to Beach Haven. A large group of boaters anchored in Ship Bottom after the parade.



Tilton Fitness Powered by Hackensack Meridian Health Closes Doors For Good

June 24, 2020

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Tilton Fitness Powered by Hackensack Meridian Health will be permanently closing due to the COVID-19 restrictions on gyms.

Locations were: Jackson, Manahawkin, Northfield-Egg Harbor, Hazlet, Edgewater, Galloway, Brick and prior to COVID-19 was scheduled to also open in Atlantic City.

Below is a letter to members of the clubs:

https://www.tiltonfitness.com/

Dear Tilton Fitness Members,

I am writing to share some difficult news. Tilton Fitness Powered by Hackensack Meridian Health will be permanently closing its doors on July 1, 2020.

Unfortunately, like other fitness centers across the country, our facilities have been hit hard by the mandatory closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing us to make this difficult decision. I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of you for your loyalty to the Tilton Fitness organization over the years and to our hard-working staff who worked tirelessly to support you on your health and wellness journey.

At Tilton Fitness, we have always prioritized our members and guests. We were committed to changing people’s lives by promoting total health and wellness and providing the best customer experience possible. Our seven fitness centers serving roughly 20,000 members represent a lifetime of effort and devotion. As you might imagine, this announcement is heartbreaking. You are as much of a part of our life as Tilton Fitness was part of yours. You have our deep and sincere appreciation.

Some of you may have questions regarding your membership. Please understand that it will take some time for us to respond to all inquiries. To the extent that you have any questions or concerns, we will be providing you the contact information of the individual who will be assigned to oversee the orderly dissolution in the next few days.

I have always believed we are more than a gym — we are a community. A community I deeply care for. A community I will sadly miss.

Sincerely,

Sam Young
President and CEO
Hackensack Meridian Fitness & Wellness

Traffic Advisory For Saturday: Possible Protest On LBI Bridge Could Cause Traffic Issues

Follow Stafford Township Police Social Media Including Facebook Here

June 4, 2020

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–See official police information about a possible protest over the LBI bridge on Saturday. Follow their Facebook page and plan your traffic route accordingly.

The Stafford Township Police Department is well aware of the upcoming protest march scheduled for this Saturday over the LBI Bridge. We appreciate everyone reaching out to us, and all of your concerns. Our number one priority is everyone’s safety and well being. As a department, we fully support the first amendment rights of the protesters, and we are taking every precautionary measure to ensure this is a peaceful protest march. Please follow our social media sites for accurate information. Thank you in advance for everyone’s cooperation. #staffordpolice