Joshua Malmgren appears in court at his arraignment in Cape May Court House in August. .

Andrew Renneisen

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — A grand jury Tuesday indicted Lower Township resident Joshua Malmgren on aggravated manslaughter charges in the July 31 deaths of cousins Nioami Lazicki and Ashley Dauber. 

Lazicki, 15, of Middle Township, and Dauber, 13, of Philadelphia, were walking that evening along Bayshore Road about a half-mile from Lazicki's home when the Ford Bronco Malmgren was driving struck the two girls at about 9:15 p.m. near the Green Creek firehouse.

Lazicki's younger sister, Farrahanne, 14, was also walking with the girls but was able to get out of the way before the Ford Bronco ran off the road.

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Malmgren, who was allegedly driving drunk, was arrested at the scene.

The indictment charges Malmgren, 30, with two counts of aggravated manslaughter, a first-degree crime that carries a penalty of between 10 and 30 years in state prison, First Assistant Prosecutor Rob Johnson said Tuesday.

Since the July 31 incident, family and friends of the two girls have asked Cape May County officials to institute changes along the well-traveled roadway.

County Engineer Dale Foster  said some changes have already been implemented and more are planned.

A $197,340 contract with Traffic Lines Inc. for various road improvements around the county includes the restriping of Bayshore Road, making the shoulder stripe wider and adding diagonal stripes along the shoulder to make the side of the road more visible to drivers, Foster said. That work will begin as soon weather permits, Foster said.

In addition, a traffic study led to the speed limit being lowered along the Middle Township section of the road. Areas that once allowed speeds of 45 mph have been reduced to 40 mph, he said. A passing zone was also eliminated, Foster said..

Malmgren, a father of four who worked at a Wawa in Lower Township, has made one court appearance since the crash and at that time entered a not guilty plea.

Malmgren opted not to appear at a second court hearing in August, angering those who knew the girls.

"He's a coward. He can't hide in that jail every day," Karen Sanchez, a Cape May Court House resident and mother of one of Nioami's friends, said following that second hearing. "He's going to have to come out and face us."

As of Tuesday, Malmgren remained in the Cape May County jail in lieu of $400,000 bail.

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