William Michael Simkins Jr. faces trial in the death of Jacob Broschard, 16, in a hit-and-run in Egg Harbor Township.

Anthony Smedile/July 27, 2011

MAYS LANDING — An Egg Harbor Township man accused of fatally chasing down a teen in his car and fleeing the scene will go to trial in May.

William Michael Simkins, 32, rejected a plea offer that would have given him a 12-year sentence — including five years on the charge of vehicular homicide. A trial date has been set for May 29.

Jacob Broschard, 16, of Egg Harbor Township, was hit and thrown from his bike Sept. 6, 2010, as he and two friends pedaled down Jerome Avenue near his home. The three had been drinking vodka and smoking marijuana, then were seen vandalizing cars, according to information previously released in court.

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Simkins was working in his garage at about 2:20 a.m. when he saw someone kick off his car’s sideview mirror and three teens bike away. He hopped in the car “like a bat out of hell,” a neighbor told the grand jury, and chased after them.

Broschard — who riding on the right side near the curb — was struck as he went around a parked car, evidence shows. He was thrown from his bike and died at the scene. Simkins drove off. He turned himself into police two hours later.

The case had to be presented to a grand jury twice after the first indictment was thrown out because the judge ruled the state had not presented enough information to the jurors. In throwing out the first indictment, Superior Court Judge Michael Donio said he did not understand why the jurors were not told Broschard veered into the car’s path.

In addition to the second-degree charge of vehicular homicide, Simkins also was indicted on charges of second-degree leaving the scene of a fatal accident and third-degree endangering an injured victim. Second-degree charges carry prison terms of five to 10 years. Third-degree charges fall into the three- to five-year range.

Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton pointed out that all three charges could carry consecutive sentences if Simkins is found guilty. Simkins is aware of the prison time he could face, defense attorney Eric Lubin told the judge, but wants to go to trial.

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