LINDEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two months to the date of a New Jersey woman being struck while crossing the street with friends, the man allegedly responsible for her death is in police custody.
“A beautiful life,” reads a card that sits next to Meghan Crilly’s photo inside her parents home.
“Meghan, she was a ray of sunshine. Everybody loved her,” mother Ann Crilly told CBS2’s Meg Baker on Wednesday.
Meghan Crilly, a 35-year-old from Fanwood, was thrown 140 feet when hit by a driver who ran a red light at around 2 a.m. on Jan. 20. At the time, she and three friends were crossing North Wood Avenue at the intersection of St. Georges Avenue in Linden. She died in the hospital 11 days later.
On Wednesday, the Union County Prosecutor Michael Monahan announced the arrest of Ibn Collins. Investigators say the 39-year-old from Linden did not slow down or stop after impact.
“Collins had consumed several alcoholic beverages on the night of his birthday, which was Saturday, Jan. 19, in the hours leading up to this incident. Video surveillance from the bar confirmed this,” Monahan said.
The Crillys thanked police for getting justice for their daughter.
“I’m sure he knew what he did and he just ran and I think that’s inhuman,” Ann Crilly said.
Police said Collins worked at Brinton Auto Body in Westfield and stashed his car there.
“The repairs that were done were done in an effort, we allege, to conceal the damage, thereby concealing his responsibility for this event,” Monahan said.
Collins allegedly told his boss he hit a deer.
A piece of Collins’ bumper was found at the scene. Investigators were able to track down where the part was purchased in Camden County and connect the dots.
Meghan Crilly was a second-grade teacher in Mountainside, a sister, aunt and a daughter.
“We were very close,” father Thomas Crilly said. “I used to get phone calls every morning before she went to work.”
“And every family celebration now there will be somebody missing,” Ann Crilly added.
The prosecutor said like so many others, Meghan’s death was preventable, and drivers need to know police will pursue them and hold them accountable.
The suspect is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday.