A 44-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run accident that left a 68-year-old pedestrian in critical condition, police said.Steven P. Ananko, 44, of Serpentine Drive in Bayville was charged with knowingly leaving a motor vehicle accident with serious bodily injury, tampering with physical evidence and hindering apprehension.
Brick Police and county investigators had searched for a dark red sedan, possibly a Nissan Sentra or Maxima, that struck pedestrian James Joseph Cox on Tuesday on Lanes Mill Road near Burnt Tavern Road.
Police said the vehicle hit Cox and sent him into the right lane on Lanes Mill, police said. A witness came to Cox's aid as he lay in the road injured as the sedan slowed then drove off, police said.
The 68-year-old pedestrian remains in critical condition at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune.
Through the use of video surveillance from the area of the accident, and an examination of EZ-Pass toll records, several possible suspect vehicles were identified, police said.
Through further investigation, and interviews, Ananko’s vehicle was identified. Officers then responded to Ananko’s residence in Bayville, where his car could not be located, police said.
While at the residence, another vehicle owned by Ananko was observed in the area. The vehicle was stopped a short distance away by officers from the Berkley Township Police Department, police said.
Ananko, who was a passenger in this vehicle, agreed to accompany officers back to the Brick Township Police Department. Through further investigation at Brick Police Headquarters, it was determined that Ananko was in fact the driver involved in the crash, police said.
Information was also developed that Ananko was actively attempting to have the vehicle repaired at a body shop in northern New Jersey.
The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigation Unit responded to the body shop in northern New Jersey where the vehicle was seized as evidence.
Bail was set by the Honorable Judge Robert Lepore at $50,000 with no option to post 10 percent. Ananko posted bail at Brick Police Headquarters and was released pending court proceedings.
The investigation was conducted by Ptl. Jay
Lampiasi, Ptl. Scott Dierking, and Sgt. Henry Drew of the Brick Township Police
Department, and Detectives David Margentino, and Michael Proto of the Ocean
County Prosecutors Office Vehicular Homicide Unit.