South River Man Pleads Guilty In Rutgers Student’s Death

NEW BRUNSWICK — A South River man has pleaded guilty to a count of death by auto, admitting he was driving recklessly when he struck and killed a Rutgers University student while she was riding her bicycle in New Brunswick.

Roger Hode, 43, pleaded guilty in the Dec. 9, 2010 of Chelsea Traynor, 21, of Concord, Calif., Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced today.

Hode pleaded guilty under an agreement reached with Middlesex County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher L.C. Kuberiet.

Under the terms of the agreement, Hode will be sentenced to serve up to four years in a New Jersey state prison and must serve at least 85 percent of the term before he can be eligible for parole. In addition, Hode will be placed under parole supervision for three years when he is released from custody.

Hode is scheduled to be sentenced on April 29 by Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick.

Hode was charged during an investigation by Patrolman Mark Smith of the New Brunswick Police Department and Investigator Sean O’Lone of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office after it was determined that the defendant was impaired at the time he drove and hit the victim.

The investigation showed Ms. Traynor was riding her bicycle across Route 18 at the George Street intersection in New Brunswick when she was struck at 11:08 a.m. on December 9, 2010, by a Ford pickup truck driven by Hode.

The pickup truck was heading north on Route 18 through the George Street intersection.

An autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office showed Traynor suffered blunt force injury.

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