Off-Duty NJ Officer Killed In Parkway Crash

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey police officer headed home after his shift ended was killed early Thursday when an alleged drunken driver crashed into his vehicle on the Garden State Parkway.

Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford said 32-year-old Jason Marles, who had served on the Ocean Gate force for nine years, was northbound when his Jeep Cherokee was struck from behind around 3:20 a.m., near milepost 83.3 in Toms River.

The collision forced Marles’ vehicle to spin and then strike a guardrail on the right berm and overturn. It finally came to rest on its roof against a tree and burst into flames.

Marles, the married father of two young children, was pronounced dead at the scene. He had finished his shift at 3 a.m. and was still in uniform as he drove home.

Ford said the other driver, 31-year-old Erick P. Uzcategui of Manchester Township, was charged with drunken driving. It was not immediately known if he had retained an attorney, and a telephone listing for him could not be located Thursday afternoon.

Since the crash occurred on the parkway, the New Jersey State Police will lead the investigation, and authorities say more charges may be filed.

Sgt. Julian Castellanos, a state police spokesman, said Uzcategui’s vehicle — a 2010 BMW X7 — careened off of the center divider after the crash and came to a stop on the right berm north of Marles’ vehicle.

Several occupants of the BMW then fled the scene and were later captured by state troopers and Toms River police officers, Castellanos said. The identities of those arrested were not immediately released, and it was not known if they would face charges in the incident.

Ocean Gate police chief Reece Fisher was scheduled to hold a 1:30 p.m. news conference to discuss the crash and Marles’ death.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • taylor

    pretty sure a “BMW x7” isnt in production…anywyas more importantly God bless his family and may we never forget his service for his state.

  • Bill

    I’m so sorry for the family. How much tiime will the drunk driver receive? Will it make a difference that Jay was a police officer?

  • alicia brown

    my heart goes out to his wife, children and family. please hang in there and be strong and know you will always have an angel by your side forever.

  • shawn murphy

    i think jail would be to good for this drunk driver.the fact that not only was he driving drunk,but he hit another person causing them to lose control of there vehicle and flip over,to then catch on fire.while they were only concerned with getting away with what they did and leave jason there to die.when they they could’ve tried to help him out of his trapped my eyes,not only are these people criminals,but they have no concern for other people’s life or what they did.they proved that by drunk driving and then leaving him there and fleeing the scene.the maximum penalty needs to be enforced here to make an example of what these drunk driver’s did.they’re all just as guilty as the driver.they all were drunk and they all fled the scene.think of the heart ache his family,kids and friends are going through rite now.they took away a great person,friend,dad,son and husband from so many.may there be no lite penalty for these drunk driver’ deepest apologies and condolences go out to jasons family.jason will be well missed and never forgotten. R I P JASON MARLES 11-25-10

  • larry low

    Jay…rest in peace my brother…u’ll be missed by all .. iam sure i speak for all the members of Ocean gate Squad 31 when i say thanks for all u did…

  • crystal garcia

    jay truely will be missed.. u were there for my father and never gave up on him. u are a great family friend and a great police officer.. ocean gate will never be the same. we will all miss seeing you drive around and making this town a better place.. u always made me smile.. you were there for me when i was growing up.. i love you jay <3

  • Jason Sharke

    This website is complete BS, it will just randomly ignore comments that you submit to it, even when they don’t contain any bad language whatsoever. Whomever designed it should be fired.

  • Declan Lawn

    Jason Marles was a GREAT MAN! He was a loving father, husband, and amazing friend. I am heartbroken from this tragedy. All he wanted in this life was to be a happy family man. He was a great dad, loyal and loving husband, and the best friend I could have ever had. I feel blessed to have know such an angel. I pray for his family and loved ones. I will miss you my brother!!!

    I hope the waves are amazing……….

  • James Wilson


  • Tom Mara

    Another drunk with an ankle braclet ~ How about a lifetime in jail instead.

  • northoftheborder

    How AWFUL!!!! So young too. We’re losing a generation b/c of the stupid actions of some.

  • Nancy Luna

    The Drunk Driver should spend a lot of years in Jail for this … I hope he feels guilty for what he has done. These poor children will not have a father for the rest of their lives and especially now for the holidays.

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