LOWER TOWNSHIP — A 50-year-old Florida man was arrested Thursday night after he was allegedly intoxicated and struck a bicyclist with his car before driving away.
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About 10:38 p.m., the Cape May County dispatch center received a 911 call reporting a car crash with injuries involving a bicyclist, according to a news release from the township police department. Officers responded to the Route 109 Bridge in Cape May.
While en route, dispatch told officers the car had left the scene of the crash, and a description and direction of travel for the car was broadcast to other local departments, police said, and the county Sheriff’s K9 Unit also responded.
Officers found the bicyclist, Gratiano Dinu, 21, of Wildwood, with severe injuries including head trauma, police said, and tried to help him. Cape May Fire and Rescue, with help from the township’s Rescue Squad and AtlantiCare paramedics, took Dinu to Cape May Court House, where he was flown by medevac to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus.
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Dinu was in critical condition, police said.
Police investigated the scene of the crash and got a witness statement, leading them to find a car at 11:16 p.m. that matched the description on Wildwood Avenue in the Villas section of the township, according to the release. Police stopped the car, and the driver, Shem C. Jenkins, 50, of Orlando, was arrested. His car, which had damage consistent with the crash, was impounded, police said.
Both men were traveling north, crossing the Route 109 bridge, when Jenkins hit Duni from behind, police said. Dinu landed on the windshield before rolling forward to the spot where he was found.
Jenkins refused to submit to take a Breathalyzer test, so police obtained a search warrant for bodily fluids and he was transported to Cape Regional Medical Center for additional testing.
Jenkins, who is charged with assault by auto, driving while intoxicated, DUI refusal, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in a serious bodily injury and failure to report an accident, was released on a criminal summons with a pending court date.
Township police patrol and detective divisions are leading the ongoing investigation into the crash.