A three-car wreck on Dukes Parkway in Hillsborough was allegedly caused by a local drunk driver in late August. Officers from the Hillsborough Police Department arrived at the scene shortly following the accident to find three damaged vehicles and several injured passengers. As a New Jersey DWI defense attorney, one of my first questions to any client accused of causing an accident as a result of drunk driving is, “Were there any injuries?” While an injury accident may complicate a driving while intoxicated defense, my office has vast experience with cases just like this one.
The driver charged in this particular incident is a 26-year-old woman from the Hillsborough area. According to reports, Erin Markakis was allegedly intoxicated when she failed to maintain her lane on Dukes Parkway West. The Lexus that she was driving hit a Toyota head-on, which then plowed into a nearby BMW. The accident happened during rush hour between Route 206 and Roycefield Road in Hillsborough.
According to the Somerset County prosecutor, and Hillsborough police chief, Markakis was driving eastbound on Dukes Parkway West in a 2002 Lexus RX300, while another driver, Emilyfee Yap, also a resident of Hillsborough, was heading west on same road in a 2001 Toyota Highlander. Behind the Toyota was a third vehicle driven by Penny Sweeney.
Apparently unable to maintain her lane, Markakis crossed the centerline of the road and struck the RX300 head-on, which then was pushed backward and off the north side of Dukes Parkway into a 2005 BMW X3 driven by Sweeney.
The collision was serious enough to trap Markakis in her vehicle, and also caused her to sustain serious injuries. Emergency personnel treated her and she was subsequently flown to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) in a New Jersey State Police Medevac helicopter.
Yap and two of her children, a daughter age 12 and a son age 3, were injured in the collision along with a 6-year-old relative. Yap and the young boy, the most seriously injured of the three, were also flown via MonOc Medevac helicopter to RWJUH. The other two children were taken via ambulance.
Sweeney sustained injury and was treated and released at Somerset Medical Center. While this accident was being investigated jointly by the Hillsborough Police Traffic Safety Unit and the Somerset County Collision Analysis Reconstruction (C.A.R.) Team, police have charged Markakis with driving while intoxicated.