SOMERSET, NJ—A fatal one-car crash killed two young men on the morning of August 27, and the police officer who was driving is now facing serious criminal charges.
The highway that divides Middlesex and Somerset Counties was the scene of a fatal wreck.
The driver, who is now hospitalized, is an Edison Township police officer charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, and a slew of motor vehicle offenses.
“Mr. Amitoj Oberoi, who is employed as an Edison Police Officer and off-duty at the time of the crash, was operating a 2007 Audi Q7,” reads the statement issued three days later by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office (SCPO).
In July 2018, Oberoi was hired as a special police officer by the Carteret Police Department before joining the Branchburg Police Department as a full law enforcement officer in 2019.
He is a 29-year-old resident of the Somerset section of Franklin Township, according to authorities.
In addition to vehicular homicide, Oberoi is charged with the following offenses:
- Driving While Intoxicated
- Reckless Driving
- Careless Driving
- Improper Passing
- Failure to Keep Right
He was one of two men to survive the crash. The other two passengers, 24-year-old Somerset resident Carlos A. Perez-Gaytan and 20-year-old North Brunswick resident Victor Cabrera-Francisco, died from their injuries.
A 29-year-old Highland Park man sustained minor injuries, and refused medical attention at the scene, according to the SCPO.
The crash occurred at approximately 6:22am, across from New Brunswick High School, on the Somerset County side of the four-lane highway.
That means that Somerset County authorities have jurisdiction over the criminal charges stemming from the tragic incident.
The ensuing investigation and cleanup caused the closure of Route 27 for at least sixteen hours. The area has seen many fatal crashes in recent years that have claimed the lives of pedestrians, motorists, and their passengers.
Oberoi’s Audi apparently left the road, crashing into poles and streetlights, entrapping Cabrera-Francisco in the crumpled car, and ejecting Perez-Gaytan.
Both were pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash, along the front of the building called Voorhees Station, located on Route 27 in between Voorhees and Springfield Avenues.
Somerset County Prosecutor John McDonald said his investigation “revealed that Oberoi while operating the 2007 Audi Q7 southbound on Somerset Street at a high rate of speed lost control of the vehicle causing the vehicle to leave the roadway striking several trees, lamp posts and a utility pole upon coming to rest.”
A joint investigation of the SCPO and Franklin Township Police Department determined that “Oberoi was over the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (B.A.C.) limit at the time of incident,” indicating he was too intoxicated to legally operate the vehicle.
Authorities did not reveal the exact amount of Oberoi’s BAC.
“Oberoi was transported to an area trauma center via ambulance with undisclosed injuries sustained from the crash,” reads the SCPO statement, which said Oberoi is “expected to recover.”
Though officials spoke of the “arrest” of Oberoi, he remains hospitalized and was served with criminal complaints in his hospital bed at an unnamed trauma center, according to the statement released by SCPO.
“Defendant Oberoi… will be under police custody and upon release will be transported to the Somerset County Jail for processing and a detention hearing in this matter.”
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.