A 21-year-old man from Lakewood has been indicted by a Grand Jury in Ocean County on charges connected to a fatal crash last summer.

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Mordechai Berkowitz is facing aggravated manslaughter and aggravated assault charges in the death of 44-year-old Juana Lopez-Hernandez, a citizen of Mexico, and for seriously injuring 35-year-old Maria Flores-Moreno of Jackson.

On the evening of July 22nd, officers with the Lakewood Township Police Department responded to the area of South Lake Drive and East Lake Park Drive for a report of a crash with serious injuries.

Subsequent investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Lakewood Township Police Department determined that a 2018 Chevrolet Impala, operated by Berkowitz, was headed eastbound on South Lake Drive when it crossed over the double yellow and collided head-on with a 2017 Toyota Rav4, operated by Maria Flores-Moreno, 35, of Jackson, and occupied by front-seat passenger, Ms. Lopez-Hernandez.

Lopez-Hernandez was transported to Monmouth Medical Center-Southern Campus in Lakewood where she was pronounced dead.

Flores-Moreno was taken to a hospital in Neptune for treatment of the injuries. She was later released to a rehabilitation facility and continues to recuperate from her injuries.

Blood samples taken from Berkowitz at the hospital and in furtherance of the investigation revealed that his Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at the time of the collision was .157 percent. In the State of New Jersey, an operator of a motor vehicle is presumed to be over the legal limit for purposes of alcohol consumption where the operator’s BAC is .08 or greater.

In addition, authorities say Berkowitz was going over 90 MPH in a posted 35 MPH zone.

On July 27th, Berkowitz surrendered himself to the Ocean County Sheriff's Office, with his attorney present, to be formally served with the charges. He was thereafter transported to the Ocean County Jail and subsequently released as a consequence of New Jersey bail reform.

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