FREEHOLDA police officer who was off duty and on his way to work in Union County when his vehicle drifted off the Garden State Parkway in Tinton Falls last fall has been arrested and charged with being criminally responsible for the motor vehicle collision that occurred as a result, killing two people, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Friday.

John P. McClave III, 34, a resident of Toms River and a sworn member of the Hillside Police Department, is charged with two counts of second-degree Vehicular Homicide.

Shortly before 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 9, 2021, members of the Tinton Falls Police Department and Wayside Fire Company responded to a report of a collision that had taken place on Asbury Avenue, in the area of the Parkway overpass.

Upon arrival, officers encountered the two involved vehicles: a 2018 GMC Canyon pickup truck driven by McClave, and a 2020 Toyota Corolla driven by 40-year-old Angel L. Acevedo, Jr. of Baltimore, Maryland.

Acevedo and his wife, 35-year-old Daniela Correia Salles, sustained multiple severe injuries and were both pronounced dead at the scene. McClave was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center for treatment of serious but not life-threatening injuries.

An investigation by the multi-jurisdictional Monmouth County Serious Crash Analysis Response Team (SCART), the MCPO Fatal Accident Unit, and the Tinton Falls Police Department determined that McClave was driving his vehicle recklessly while under the influence of intoxicating substances at the time of the collision. The investigation further determined that McClave’s vehicle did not change direction or slow down significantly after it left the Parkway lanes, resulting in his vehicle becoming airborne upon hitting an embankment, eventually striking the car occupied by the victims.   

McClave was additionally issued summonses for Reckless Driving, Failure to Maintain Lanes, Failure to Wear a Seatbelt, and Having an Open Container of Alcohol in a Vehicle.

Anyone with information about this matter is still urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Kristian DeVito toll-free at 1-800-533-7443 or Tinton Falls Police Department Patrolman David Ebert at 732-542-4422.

The Prosecutor’s Office is filing a motion to have McClave detained pending the resolution of this case.

“This officer’s actions on the night of the collision far crossed the line separating passive negligence from active criminality, and as a result, a married couple have lost their lives,” Acting Prosecutor Linskey said. “We hope today’s announcement brings their loved ones some semblance of solace in knowing that the first steps have been taken towards achieving justice.” 

This case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Meghan Doyle. McClave is represented by Timothy Smith, Esq., with an office in Fairfield.

If convicted of a second-degree offense of this nature, McClave would be subject to a term of up to 10 years in state prison, with 85 percent of the term to be served before the possibility of parole for each count, according to the provisions of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (NERA).

Despite the aforementioned pending charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.