A man from Lakewood will be spending the next several years behind bars for leaving the scene of a fatal accident last summer.

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office says on Friday, 26-year-old Angel Garcia-Rodriguez was sentenced to five years in state prison.

Authorities say during the early morning hours of July 22nd, 2023, officers with the Lakewood Township Police Department responded to the area of James Street for a report of a serious motor vehicle crash.

There, they found a 2007 Honda Civic had struck a utility pole; the driver had fled the scene and a male passenger was critically injured.

The passenger was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune where he ultimately died from his injuries.

An investigation revealed that Garcia-Rodriguez was driving the Civic westbound on James Street when he lost control and struck the pole on the passenger side door. He fled but was later found at a home in Lakewood and taken into custody.

Garcia-Rodriguez has been in the Ocean County Jail since the day of the accident.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer thanked the numerous law enforcement agencies that were involved in this case, including the Lakewood and Toms River Township Police Departments and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office.

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