red lights and car crash
Credit: Carlos Ramirez / New Brunswick Today

SOMERSET, NJ—Rafelo Peralta, a 28-year-old resident of New Brunswick, was killed in a March 12 motor vehicle crash that also sent another motorist to the hospital.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Franklin Boulevard and Route 27, also known as Somerset Street, the state road that separates New Brunswick from Somerset County’s Franklin Township.

As such, the incident is being investigated by the Franklin Township Police Department (FTPD) Traffic Safety Bureau and Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Collision Analysis Reconstruction Team.

Rafelo Peralta

According to his Facebook page, Peralta attended New Brunswick High School and the Vocational & Technical High School campus in Piscataway.

Peralta leaves behind a 9-month-old girl and many loving family members, according to our sources.

“He was a good guy and he never did anyone wrong,” one family member told New Brunswick Today. “Just a young man cut short in his life.”

“Every memory I got of you is nothing but happiness and laughter,” posted one of Peralta’s on his Facebook page.

Police first learned of the crash from a 9-1-1 call that came in at 11:02pm.

At 11:33pm, the FTPD issued a message using their Nixle to alert the public of “a current traffic issue.”

“A vehicle crash near Rt 27 and Franklin Blvd has closed Rt 27 and Franklin Blvd and will require a detour of traffic until further notice,” read the alert.

About an hour later, New Brunswick Today’s Carlos Ramirez reported live from the scene, but officers with the New Brunswick Police Department told Ramirez to stay back on Oliver Street, the city street which meets up with Franklin Boulevard at Route 27.

Peralta “was traveling southbound on Franklin Blvd in a Toyota Scion when he collided with a Ford F-150 pick-up that was making a left hand turn onto Franklin Blvd from Route 27,” according to a statement issued by FTPD Captain Phil Rizzo.

The truck was operated by Jose Velez-Fernandez, a 31-year-old resident of New Brunswick, according to the FTPD statement.

“Upon arrival Peralta was found unconscious and unresponsive,” reads the statement.

“Officers initiated life saving measures until EMS personnel arrived on scene. Both drivers were transported to a local area trauma center.”

Peralta was pronounced deceased after arriving at the unnamed hospital, most likely Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

The intersection was re-opened to “normal traffic flow,” according to a follow-up FTPD alert issued at 3:38am.

No criminal charges have been filed related to the crash, but anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact FTPD Sgt. James Raics at 732-873-5533 extension 3177 or [email protected]

Editor at New Brunswick Today | 732-993-9697 |

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.