DELRAN — The driver of a pickup truck that struck and killed a 20-year-old woman on Route 130 on Monday morning was charged with several traffic offenses, including failure to obey a traffic signal.
Jonathan J. Bozarth, 25, of Delran, also was charged with careless driving and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk in the 6:40 a.m. accident that claimed the life of Christal M. Smith, also of Delran.
Smith was crossing the highway in the pedestrian crosswalk at Holy Cross High School when Bozarth’s northbound vehicle hit her, investigators said. She was taken to the Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County in Willingboro, where she died.
A police investigation determined that Smith, who was on her way to her job at the ShopRite supermarket on Fairview Boulevard, was inside the crosswalk and was crossing with the light.
The traffic summonses against Bozarth were issued Wednesday and are pending in Delran Municipal Court.
A graduate of Delran High School, Smith was enrolled at Burlington County College during the fall 2012 semester.
She is the 16th pedestrian to die since 2009 after being struck on the county’s stretch of Route 130.
After Monday’s tragedy, a group of Smith’s friends and Delran alumni created an online petition urging Gov. Chris Christie and his administration to build a pedestrian bridge over Route 130 at the crossing. The petition cites Smith’s death as well as an October 1992 pedestrian accident at the same location that claimed the life of 12-year-old Melinda Stone of Delran.
The petition, which is hosted by the websiteChange.org, is at http://www.change.org/petitions/delran-township-build-a-bridge-crosswalk-next-to-holy-cross-high-school-over-route-130.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the petition had received more than 1,116 signatures, said organizer Jacqueline McGraw, who attended Delran High with Smith and knew her twin brothers.
“She was a very sweet and quiet girl, someone you could depend on,” McGraw said Wednesday. “After her death, we realized that Melinda Stone was killed in the same spot and that (residents) had also created a petition (for a pedestrian bridge).”
“If that bridge had been built then, Christal would still be here,” she said.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation has built sidewalks along Route 130 and nearby streets and improved signage and traffic signals on the state highway to improve pedestrian safety. Officials have expressed reluctance about building bridges over the highway, saying most pedestrians would not use them.
Earlier this year, Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra, organized a meeting between DOT Commissioner James Simpson and elected officials from towns along Route 130 to discuss pedestrian safety and the need for more education among drivers and walkers.
Singleton said Tuesday during a meeting with the Burlington County Times’ editorial board that he also is researching other ways to improve safety on the highway that he hopes to present to the agency.
“A lot of it is improving education of folks, but there are some other things that can be done. But it’s going to cost money,” Singleton said.
He did not specify the improvements he’s researching or set a timetable for delivering the ideas to the DOT.
David Levinsky: 609-871-8154; email: dlevinsky@phillyBurbs.com; Twitter: @davidlevinsky
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my husband works with the guy who hit the women.my husband said even after the accident the guy left the office driving like a dick back down to the station