MCPO: Man Ran Over Passenger Who Left His Car Amid Dispute in Dunellen

DUNELLEN, NJ—A 27-year-old man from this small town has been arrested and charged with intentionally driving his 1999 Chevrolet Lumina into a pedestrian who had just gotten out of the vehicle amid a dispute, according to authorities.

The alleged vehicular assault occurred on Orange Street—just a few blocks from the Dunellen train station—at 10:48pm on April 5.

Police tracked down Eric Locke, a 27-year-old resident of the borough, who they say fled the scene of the crime.

Locke was charged with aggravated assault, leaving the scene of a crash causing serious bodily injury, and failure to render aid to the victim, identified only as a 25-year-old man from South Bound Brook.

"It was determined that the victim was a passenger in the defendant’s vehicle… when the men became involved in a dispute," read the official Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) statement on the investigation.

"The victim got out of the vehicle and was walking on Orange Street, near Columbia Park, when he was struck by the vehicle."

According to the MCPO, the victim remained hospitalized—and in critical condition—as of April 6, one day after the bizarre crash.

It's not clear if the victim remains in the hospital, but Locke is still behind bars nearly a month after his arrest after a Judge ruled to detain him without bail under the state's revamped pre-trial system implemented this year.

Locke was charged during an investigation by MCPO Detective Donald Heck and Sgt. Jeff Del Buono of the Dunellen Police Department. 

The investigation both "active" and "continuing," according to the MCPO statement.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Del Buono at (732) 968-3000, extension 230, or Detective Heck at (732) 745-8842.

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Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.