New Brunswick Man Charged In Auto Fatality

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police-tapeNORTH BRUNSWICK — A New Brunswick man has been arrested and charged with causing a high-speed crash that killed a 22-year-old Somerset County resident,  Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Kenneth McCormick, director of the North Brunswick Police Department, announced Sunday.

Shareef Holder, 28, was charged with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and eluding police following the crash that killed Luis Rodriguez, 22, of the Somerset section of Franklin Township.

Holder was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

An investigation by Investigator Scott Crocco and Investigator Greg Morris, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, determined that Holder was traveling at a high rate of speed on Jersey Avenue when he crashed into the rear of the victim’s vehicle near Huron Road in North Brunswick, authorities said. Rodriguez was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the crash, which occurred at 9:53 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28.

The investigation determined that shortly before that collision occurred, Holder, driving a 2001 Mercedes ML 320, crashed into a 1985 Nissan Maxima on Route 27 in New Brunswick. The driver of the Maxima was not injured. Holder drove away from the scene, authorities said. New Brunswick police saw the defendant and stopped him on Jersey Avenue. Moments later, Holder accelerated and fled from police before striking the 1995 Honda Civic that was being driven by Rodriguez, authorities said.

After striking the Civic, Holder’s vehicle crashed into a 2003 GMC Sierra pickup truck that was in front of the Honda, and then hit a 2003 Chevrolet Ventura that was in front of the pickup truck. Two passengers in the pickup truck and two passengers in the Chevrolet Ventura were not injured.

The investigation is active and continuing. Officials are asking anyone with information to call Investigator Crocco or Investigator Morris, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3300.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Holder are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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