FREEHOLD –   An Ocean County man has been arrested in connection with the death of a mother and her child from a fatal July crash in Freehold Township, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced on Friday.

On Friday, December 16, 2022, Thomas F. Polson, 53, of Little Egg Harbor, was arrested on two counts of second-degree Vehicular Homicide, one count of third-degree Hindering Apprehension, two counts of fourth-degree Assault by Auto and one count of fourth-degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance.

The charges stem from a fatal crash that took place on Thursday July 14, 2022. At approximately 5 p.m. on that date, members of the Monmouth County Serious Collision Analysis Response Team (SCART), the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Freehold Township Police Department responded to the area of Siloam Road and Old Turkey Swamp Road in Freehold Township. At that location, first responders located the three vehicles involved in the collision: a Ford F350 pickup truck driven by Polson, a Chrysler Pacifica minivan driven by Denise James, 42, of Ocean Township (Ocean County), and a Honda CR-V SUV driven by a 34-year-old male resident of Jackson Township.

James was pronounced deceased at the scene, and her 3-year-old child was transported via medical helicopter to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where she later succumbed to her injuries. The other two children, ages 9 and 13, were also taken to Jersey Shore for treatment and were later released.

The subsequent investigation revealed that Polson’s pickup truck left the southbound lane of Siloam Road and struck the involved SUV with a glancing blow before colliding head-on with the minivan immediately thereafter. The investigation also revealed that Polson was operating his vehicle at the time of the fatal collision while under the influence of a Controlled Dangerous Substance.

Anyone who may have witnessed the collision or has any information about it is urged to contact MCPO Detective Nicolas Logothetis at 800-533-7443 or Freehold Township Police Department Patrolman Justin Nunno at 732-294-5139.

Polson is lodged at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) pending a first appearance and detention hearing to take place in Monmouth County Superior Court.

Convictions on second-degree criminal charges of this nature are commonly punishable by up to 10 years in a state prison and are subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring a defendant to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Bogner, Director of the Major Crimes Bureau. Polson is represented by William J. Rush, Esq., of Carlstadt.

Despite these 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.