Cause of Fatal Beach Haven Car Crash Could Take More Than a Month to Determine

Jan 30, 2017

The cause of a single-vehicle crash in Beach Haven that took the life of a borough resident last week could take more than a month to confirm if a toxicology report is needed following a post-mortem examination, according to Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. The results of a toxicology report typically take four to six weeks to verify.

“I can’t speak to that until a medical examiner completes their autopsy and then does a toxicology report,” Della Fave stated. “Toxicology reports, if it seems like that’s something that contributed to the accident, take (a) long (time). If there’s nothing like that involved, then it’s quick. But if nothing comes up substantial on the autopsy, then they look at the blood. That takes longer.”

Local police were called to the intersection of 10th and Bay avenues for a reported motor vehicle crash that struck a utility pole on Jan. 25 around 6:14 p.m. Upon arrival, the driver — Jessica Baker, 31, of Beach Haven, was found completely unresponsive. She was subsequently pronounced dead at 6:48 p.m. upon her arrival at the Southern Ocean County Medical Center in Manahawkin.

“The difficulty with single-vehicle accidents with one occupant, and no survivors, is that there’s no one to interview and really no witnesses,” said Della Fave. “So it’s difficult to determine what was the contributing circumstance, unless something significant is shown at the medical examiner’s autopsy.”

In such cases, police and medical officials look to confirm accompanying factors, including medical conditions, obstructions such as an animal in the road, or drugs and alcohol, he stated.

“If none of that surfaces, then the only other thing we can suspect is fatigue,” said Della Fave. “But a lot of times, these crashes, if there’s nothing glaring that shows up in the autopsy report, many of them go undetermined. There’s just no way to close it out because there’s no surviving witness, no one to interview.” —K.A.E.

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