Beachwood Man Faces Vehicular Homicide Charge for Fatal Plumsted Township Crash

On August 10, 2023, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer made an announcement regarding the charges against John Zinkoski, a 41-year-old resident of Beachwood. Zinkoski has been charged with Vehicular Homicide and Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide in connection with a fatal motor vehicle crash that took place in Plumsted Township on May 12, 2023. The crash resulted in the death of Judi Smith, a 59-year-old resident of Browns Mills.

The incident occurred at around 5:50 p.m. on May 12, 2023, at the intersection of Pinehurst Road and Long Swamp Road. According to the investigation conducted by the Plumsted Township Police Department, Zinkoski, driving a Nissan Frontier, collided with a Volvo XC6 operated by Smith. Smith had attempted to make a right-hand turn onto Pinehurst Road when the collision took place. Tragically, Smith sustained severe injuries and was rushed to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, where she later succumbed to her injuries. Zinkoski, on the other hand, was airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where he received medical treatment and was subsequently released.

Laboratory analysis of Zinkoski’s blood drawn at the hospital after the crash revealed troubling results. His Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) exceeded the legal limit set by the state. In New Jersey, a BAC of .08 or higher is considered presumptive evidence of intoxication while operating a motor vehicle. Additionally, the laboratory results unveiled the presence of cocaine and benzodiazepine in Zinkoski’s blood, further compounding the seriousness of the situation. Further investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Plumsted Township Police Department disclosed that Zinkoski’s vehicle was traveling at an average speed of 86 miles-per-hour during the crash.

Following the findings, a warrant for Zinkoski’s arrest was issued on August 8, 2023. However, as of now, Zinkoski remains at large and is considered a fugitive from justice. He has been entered into the National Crime Information Center database, thereby intensifying efforts to locate and apprehend him.

In commending the collaborative efforts of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Plumsted Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Prosecutor Billhimer expressed gratitude for their contribution to the investigation.

It is important to note that all the charges leveled against Zinkoski are accusations, and according to the principle of law, he is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The press and the public are urged to withhold judgment until all the facts are presented.

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