Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little today announced that their agencies have successfully identified, located and charged a Berkeley Township, NJ, woman with the pedestrian fatal hit and run which took place just two days before the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Investigating detectives allege Maxine Pickard, 73, was operating her daughter’s 2009 Blue Nissan Altima on the night of the accident, striking John Ekarius, 34, of Dover Woods, Toms River, which ultimate led to his death.

The investigation began on 11/22/2016 at 11:10 pm, when the Toms River Police Department responded to Route 70 Westbound at the Route 9 Bridge for a report of a pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle. Responding officers found a male, age 34, of Toms River, who had apparently been struck by multiple vehicles. The unresponsive male was pronounced dead at 11:30 pm.

The partnering agencies, with assistance from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CSI and Mr. Al Picker of All Time Automotive in Point Pleasant, determined that the pedestrian was initially struck by a late model blue Nissan Altima. The suspect vehicle left the scene following the strike with heavy front end damage. The victim was subsequently struck by additional vehicles which immediately stopped and remained at the scene to render assistance.

On 11/24/2016 at approximately 12 noon, Mr. Al Picker the same individual who helped with the vehicle identification, while driving to a Thanksgiving dinner miraculously spotted a blue Nissan Altima with damage consistent with the accident being towed northbound on the Garden State Parkway. Mr. Picker immediately contacted OCPO investigating Detective Brad Frank, who would subsequently locate the vehicle with the help of the New Jersey State Police. Investigating detectives responded to an Iris Drive address in Neptune Township where the vehicle was parked in the roadway.

On 12/01/2016, the subsequent vehicle examination by the Ocean County Sheriff’s CSI Unit and partnering agencies investigation would lead to charges being reviewed and approved by Assistant Prosecutor Mara Brater and Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Michael Weatherstone against Maxine Pickard for Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death in the second degree. Bail was set by the Honorable Rochelle Gizinski in the amount of $50,000 with a 10% option. On 12/2/16 at 3:30 pm, Ms Pickard accompanied by her attorney, turned herself in to OCPO Detectives. She was processed and released on bail pending her court date.

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook. The social media links provided are for reference only. The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.
For additional information visit our website at