A Howell Township resident was arrested and charged today with leaving the scene of the motor accident accident that resulted in the death of 58-year old cyclist Charles McHugh, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Abraham Chapnick, 83, of Ramtown Road is charged with one count of second degree Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death and several motor vehicle summonses in connection with the fatal hit and run of McHugh around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12.
Investigators from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Howell Township Police Department say that McHugh was riding his bicycle along Herbertsville Road in Howell Township when he was struck from behind by a 1995 black Lexus LS 400 Sedan, which they allege is owned and operated by Chapnick. Police have seized the vehicle from his residence.
Investigators also believe Chapnick was the operator of the vehicle during the fatal hit and run.
"It was good old-fashioned police work," said Charles Webster, spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. Investigators worked with pieces of a broken headlight to identify the particular vehicle and research owners, he said.
Chapnick surrendered himself to the Howell Township Police Department on Monday and posted bail in the amount of $150,000 with no 10 percent cash alternative, as set by Judge Francis J. Vernoia, J.S.C.
Anyone with additional information about this case is asked by authorities to call Det. Eric Kerecman, of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, at 1-800-533-7443 or Ptl. Matthew Cherney, of the Howell Police at 732-938-4111.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
If convicted of Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death, Chapnick faces a sentence of five to ten years in a state prison.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Huth, director of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau.
Chapnick is represented by Rudolph A. Palombi, Jr., Esq. of Hamilton (Mercer County).