The Middlesex County man charged with leaving the scene of a fatal pedestrian strike that took place in Plainfield nearly two months ago has been additionally charged with second-degree death by auto after it was determined that speed and alcohol both played a factor in the incident, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Friday.
Lavar B. Jones, 37, of South Plainfield is charged in connection with the death of Sergio D. Cuxun-Tista, 39, of Plainfield, who had just exited a taxi when he was struck and killed.
At approximately 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 29, Plainfield Police Division units responded to the 1100 block of West Eighth Street in Plainfield to find Cuxun-Tista suffering from serious injuries, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Armando Suarez, who is prosecuting the case. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene a short while later, Suarez said.
Jones was located shortly thereafter at his home, several hundred feet further southwest down West Eighth Street, just over Plainfield’s municipal border with South Plainfield. Also found outside the home was his Honda Accord, which had heavy front-end and windshield damage.
An investigation involving the Prosecutor’s Office, Plainfield Police Division, and Union County Police Department Fatal Accident Reconstruction Team ultimately determined that Jones was traveling at approximately 65 mph in a 25-mph zone when the incident occurred. More than six hours after the crash, his blood-alcohol level was also measured to be nearly double the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Convictions on second-degree charges are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison.
These are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.