Fatal TCNJ crash driver staggered out of bar 3X legal limit — prosecutors
TRENTON — The man charged with killing a college student and injuring others in a head-on crash while driving drunk spent three hours at a campus bar and was caught on video staggering out with his blood-alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit for driving, prosecutors said Tuesday.
David Lamar V, 22, on Tuesday stood before the judge shackled at the waist and wrists wearing an orange jumpsuit. He's been charged with vehicle homicide and several counts of assault by auto.
The courtroom was packed with College of New Jersey students and the parents of Michael Sot, the sophomore math student who died in the Dec. 3 crash on Route 31.
Sot had been the designated driver for his friends that evening. In a cruel twist of fate, Sot was the one to lose his life to an accused drunk driver. Moreover, prosecutors revealed on Tuesday, Lamar's friend had offered to drive but the intoxicated Lamar turned him down because he didn't want his friend damaging his new vehicle.
Superior Court Judge Anthony M. Massi, sitting in Trenton, said he wanted to review case law and would issue a decision on Wednesday on whether Lamar would be released from custody while he awaits trial.
The prosecution argued for Lamar to remain at the Mercer County Correctional Center because he is a flight risk, saying that he left a Pennsylvania hospital after the crash without telling anyone. As a result, U.S. Marshals had to search for him.
His attorney, Robin Lord, argued that Lamar was heavily medicated. She said Lamar checked into a hospital in New Jersey before being transferred to jail.
Lord also presented Massi with 18 letters of recommendation presenting Lamar as a responsible member of the community. He lives with his grandmother in West Windsor. Lamar is employed but where he works was not mentioned during the hearing.
Prosecutors say Lamar told police that he had been drinking at Landmark Americana on the TCNJ campus. He said he had two beers, two "twisted teas" and a shot. But investigators say surveillance video shows him also drinking a "fishbowl," a massive cocktail with numerous servings.
Five TCNJ students, the girlfriend of one of those students and Lamar's passenger suffered serious injuries. Two of them remain in critical condition.
Injured in the crash were Danielle DeFlores, 21, an open options major from Brick; Matthew DeGenova, 21, an accounting major from Wall Township; Anthony Galante, 19, a finance major from North Bellmore, New York; Ryan Moore, 21, a marketing major from Midland Park' and Sot, 20, a math major from Clark.
Sot's funeral was Monday in his hometown of Clark.
A vigil for the TCNJ students in the crash is scheduled for Wednesday evening.