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Man Accused Of Driving Into Farmers Market, Killing 1, Pleads Not Guilty

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The man accused of driving into a crowded farmers market in Hawthorne and killing a woman pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

James Woetzel, 48, has been charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He appeared in court in a wheelchair with his hands cuffed to the armrests.

James Woetzel, the man accused of driving into a N.J. farmers market and killing one person, pleaded not guilty. (Credit: Levon Putney/WCBS 880)

James Woetzel, the man accused of driving into a N.J. farmers market and killing one person, appeared in court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. (Credit: Levon Putney/WCBS 880)

Woetzel’s attorney Russel Bickert said his client doesn’t ordinarily use a wheelchair but hasn’t been feeling well, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.

Woetzel’s appearance was delayed Wednesday, as court officers said they had a difficult time getting him to court, Sloan reported.

Prosecutors say Woetzel drove his pickup truck through barricades Sunday, slamming into several produce stands.

Hawthorne farmers market after truck crashed through and hit at least three people (Credit: CBS 2)

Hawthorne farmers market after truck crashed through and hit at least three people (Credit: CBS 2)

Donna Wine, 58, was killed, and two others were hurt.

Witnesses said Wine was dragged under the truck for three blocks before Woetzel stopped.

Wine was pronounced dead on the scene.

Man Accused Of Driving Into Farmers Market, Killing 1, Pleads Not Guilty

pict0689 cut Man Accused Of Driving Into Farmers Market, Killing 1, Pleads Not Guilty
Levon Putney reports

The judge pointed out that Woetzel has several prior traffic violations, which date back to 1986 and include five license suspensions, Sloan reported.

“And there is a DWI in 2002,” said judge Marilyn Clark.

Investigators said it doesn’t appear Woetzel was under the influence at the time of the accident, but they’re still waiting on toxicology results.

Back at the scene of the farmers market, people lit candles in memory of Wine.

“Just saying a little prayer for her,” said Stephanie Massie. “Terrible what happened.”

Friends said Wine, who lived in an apartment complex next door to Woetzel, was a talented hairstylist. She recently worked at a hair salon in Wyckoff.

“Donna was wonderful,” said friend Pat Miller. “So sorry to lose her.”

On Thursday night, the town will gather at the sight of the crash to remember Wine at a candlelight vigil. Her funeral will be a private service, Sloan reported.

Woetzel was ordered to turn over his driver’s licence and undergo a psychiatric evaluation before his bail hearing in two weeks, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.

He is being held on $200,000 bail.

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