Authorities in Franklin Township, Gloucester County, have announced an arrest in connection to a hit-and-run crash earlier this month that killed a horse and injured its rider.

The accident happened on the evening of September 13th along Monroeville Road.

Police say a 14-year-old girl from Sicklerville and a 21-year-old man from Camden were each riding a horse on the shoulder of the road when a pickup truck that was traveling in the same direction struck the horse that the girl was riding and fled the scene.

The girl was injured and taken to Cooper University Hospital for treatment. Her horse, named Predator, died at the scene. The man on the other horse was not injured.

Monroeville Road in Franklin Township, Gloucester County, NJ - Photo: Google Maps
Monroeville Road in Franklin Township, Gloucester County, NJ - Photo: Google Maps

Following an investigation, detectives determined that the vehicle was at a home on the 100 block of Buck Road near the Gloucester-Salem County line. A search warrant was executed on Tuesday and authorities found the vehicle, with heavy front-end damage, hidden in the woods.

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Detectives report they were able to remove pieces of Predator's hair from the vehicle as evidence.

Arrested and charged

51-year-old Joseph DeVitis admitted he was involved in the accident and was arrested.

DeVitis has been charged with third-degree assault by auto, third-degree endangering an injured victim, third-degree leaving the scene of a motor vehicle crash with serious bodily injury, third-degree animal cruelty, and multiple traffic offenses.

He was released on a summons pending a court date in Gloucester County Superior Court.

Drivers and horses along NJ roads

State law in New Jersey requires drivers of vehicles to slow or stop as they approach a horse that is along the side of a road.

Horse signs in NJ - Photo: Google Maps
Horse signs in NJ - Photo: Google Maps

When approaching or passing a person riding or driving a horse, a person driving a motor vehicle shall reduce the vehicle's speed to a rate not exceeding 25 miles an hour and proceed with caution. At the request of or upon a signal by putting up the hand or otherwise, from a person riding or driving a horse in the opposite direction, the motor vehicle driver shall cause the motor vehicle to stop and remain stationary so long as may be necessary to allow the horse to pass.

The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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