NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The Key Food supermarket on Kirkpatrick Street in downtown abruptly stopped doing deliveries just eight days after a hit-and-run crash involving one of their vehicles.
Key Food--like most supermarkets in New Brunswick--had offered to drive customers home if they spent at least $50 on groceries.
As NBToday reported in February, the store was using two vans to make over 200 such "deliveries" per week.
But that all changed on or about July 9, when the store ceased offering the rides to its customers.
According to a New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) report, the fateful crash happened at 7:53 pm on July 1.
The Ford van, emblazoned with Key Food logos, allegedly struck a Nissan Altima driven by a city resident who had stopped to make a left turn onto North Ward Street from Georges Road.
"[The driver of the Nissan] stated that she stopped to make a left turn... and was struck in the rear by [the Key Food van]," reads the report, filed by NBPD officer Reinaldo Rodriguez.
According to the report, the Key Food van "left the scene" following the crash.
The driver of the vehicle that was struck "was able to describe vehicle as white Ford Key Foods van with an Hispanic Male Driver," reads the report.
Police located the van near the supermarket, and noted that it had "damage to [the] front right bumper."
The driver of the van was identified as Anderson Rodriguez, after police spoke to the store manager, Raul Urena. But Anderson Rodriguez had already left work by the time Officer Rodriguez arrived.
Anderson Rodriguez was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident, and careless driving.
In July, a manager at the supermarket told NBT that the vans used to make the deliveries had been re-assigned to a new Key Food store in Garwood.
"Our stores are independently owned and operated, so delivery policies are set at each owner's discretion," said Rachel Geissler, a spokesperson for Key Food.
Geissler did not respond to questions from NBT about the crash report, which was made available on the city's website.
The New Brunswick Key Food is owned by Kevin Kim and opened in August 2015 after the previous tenant, theFreshGrocer, closed after less than two years in business.
A Key Food employee told us they stopped making deliveries because there weren't many customers in need of it.
But when we told told her about the crash report, she said that, "A customer had claimed that it was a hit and run."
The employee said that it was the same lady who has always been complaining to them, adding that she did not know much because she had just started working there.
A few weeks after the crash, the store began advertising that it would offer deliveries on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but it didn't always follow through on the offer.
On the first day it was supposed to resume deliveries, the manager told our editor that the driver had not shown up yet.
The store now has a sign up that reads “For Safety Reasons No Children Allowed In Delivery Van.”
As for Anderson Rodriguez, the driver charged in the crash, it's unknown if he still continues to work for the company.
A woman who answered the phone at Key Food insisted they will begin offering rides home for customers daily beginning on August 20, between 8am and 7pm. However, the service will only be available to customers who spend at least $150.