Juvenile charged with hit-and-run vehicular homicide of Lea Pringle, 39

A 17-year-old unlicensed driver has been arrested in connection with the March 7 hit-and-run homicide of 39-year-old Lea Pringle.

Lea Pringle (Facebook photo)

Lea Pringle (Facebook photo)

The teenage city girl was charged Thursday with death by auto and related offenses and remanded to the Middlesex County Juvenile Detention Center, according to Trenton Police, who said the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office will determine whether the defendant is tried as a juvenile or an adult.

The unlicensed teen driver is accused of striking the pedestrian about 12:30 a.m. March 7 in the 600 block of North Olden Avenue, just outside of Benny’s bar. Pringle later died at the hospital. She was a Bucks County resident of Yardley, Pennsylvania.

Trenton Police Detective Craig Kirk and Detective Sgt. Bethesda Stokes are the investigating officers who solved the fatal hit-and-run case.

According to the New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit, vehicular homicides are considered manslaughter and are, therefore, not reported as a homicide statistic. The Trentonian, however, includes death by auto and justifiable police shootings in its yearly homicide count.

The area where Pringle was struck is said to be rife with reckless or careless drivers who speed through the city’s East Trenton neighborhood. Several hours after the vehicular homicide incident occurred, a man who identified himself as the manager of Benny’s said motorists continually speed through the area, which consists of residential housing on both sides of the street, and regularly has several cars parked outside of homes.

A city woman, Ivelisse Bassat, was arrested earlier this year on allegations she recklessly crashed into a pedestrian while driving drunk on the 600 block of North Olden Avenue. The 30-year-old male victim was struck about 2 a.m. March 5. The crash pinned the victim between two vehicles near Benny’s bar, causing his leg to be severed from his body. He suffered major injuries but survived.

Staff writer Penny Ray contributed to this report.

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