MAYS LANDING — An Egg Harbor Township man accused of chasing down a group of teens with his car and killing one was indicted Tuesday for vehicular homicide — less than a month after a judge threw out a previous indictment.
William Michael Simkins, 31, was working in his garage after 2 a.m. Sept. 6 when he saw a teen kick the sideview mirror off his car. Simkins allegedly got into his car and gave chase.
While he was driving, Simkins struck Jacob Broschard, 16, as he and two friends pedaled down Jerome Avenue.
The case had to be presented to a grand jury for a second time after Superior Court Judge Michael Donio ruled July 27 that jurors were not given enough information, including that Broschard swerved his bike into the car’s path as he went around a parked car.
The judge agreed with Simkins’ attorney, Louis Barbone, that the information was crucial in determining whether Simkins acted recklessly, which is required for a vehicular-homicide charge.
But in court at that time, Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton argued that Simkins was reckless when he got into the car to chase the boys.
Broschard and two friends had been drinking vodka and smoking pot that night, according to information previously released in court. Then they were seen vandalizing cars, including Simkins’.
As the boys and Simkins traveled east on Jerome Avenue toward Robert Best Road, Broschard — who was riding close to the curb on the right side — veered left to go around a parked car. That’s when the left side of his bike hit the passenger side of Simkins’ car. He was tossed more than 100 feet.
Last month, Donio questioned why Fatal Collision Unit Sgt. Kevin Hincks — who testified before the grand jury — was never asked where the impact took place or how close Simkins was when Broschard veered out, to see if the defendant would have had adequate time to avoid the teen.
Grand jury presentations are closed, so it is not clear exactly what was presented this time, except that the judge’s order would have been followed.
In addition to the second-degree charge of vehicular homicide, Simkins 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.
An arraignment date has not yet been scheduled, according to a news release sent from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday.
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