SOUTH AMBOY, NJ—Two men perished and three more injured in a head-on collision that occured in the early morning hours of April 16 on Route 9.
At first, authorities believed that 51-year-old Percell Livingston, of East Orange, was driving the wrong way on the highway when his minivan hit another similar vehicle driven by 31-year-old Miguel Mendoza-Chong, of Perth Amboy.
Both men were pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck, but video footage and witnesses later helped investigators to determine it was Mendoza-Chong who was driving the wrong way.
Mendoza-Chong’s three passengers were taken to area hospitals, according to a statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO).
“A 38-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman were listed in serious condition at Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center in New Brunswick,” read the MCPO statements released on April 16. “The third victim, a 28-year-old woman, was treated at Raritan Bay Medical Center, Perth Amboy Division, and was released.”
Nine days later, the MCPO corrected the record, announcing that it was Mendoza-Chong’s 2011 Honda Odyssey that was going the wrong way when it struck Livingston’s 2002 Nissan Quest.
“After reviewing evidence acquired during the investigation, it has been determined that Miguel Mendoza-Chong… and not Percell Livingston Jr…. was driving the wrong way on Route 9 north when their minivans crashed head on in South Amboy.”
The crash was reportedly investigated by Officer Stephen Clarke of the South Amboy Police Department and MCPO Detective Donald Heck.
“The account of the collision was revised during the continuing investigation, which included information obtained from additional witnesses and video,” read the April 25 statement from the MCPO.
“The video and the witness statements are part of the investigation and are not being released at this time.”
The investigation was described as “active” and “continuing.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Clarke at (732) 721-0111, or Detective Heck at (732) 745-8842.
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, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.