Pleasantville woman arrested in 2018 crash that killed Galloway driver
Updated: Jun 13
A Pleasantville woman who was allegedly speeding while high is now charged in a crash that killed a Galloway Township driver more than a year ago. Kaitlyn Hayes, now 25, was under the influence of marijuana and going more than 100 mph, when the crash occurred near the H. Ashton Marsh Elementary School in Absecon, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said Thursday. She later admitted to investigators that she smoked marijuana about an hour before the crash, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Suzana Kocick, 36, died at the scene.
An investigation found Hayes was traveling 106 mph in the two seconds before the crash, and 104 mph at impact, Tyner said.
The affidavit said there was no indication that she hit her brake before the crash.
Hayes was arrested Wednesday on first-degree charges of aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide in a school zone. She is in the Atlantic County Justice Facility.
“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of refraining from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol," Tyner said. "Very simply, if you drive while impaired, it is more likely that someone will be injured or killed. The risk is too great to ignore.”
The crash happened just after 11:30 p.m. Dec. 19, 2018.
Hayes was heading south on Pitney Road when she crossed into the northbound lane and struck Kocick's vehicle head-on, according to the charges.
Hayes was extricated from her vehicle by police, and taken to an area hospital for treatment.
She told officers that she had weed in her pocketbook, according to the affidavit.
Toxicology tests revealed Hayes’ blood was positive for marijuana.
"As a result of Ms. Hayes' recent drug use, she became intoxicated and impaired," the affidavit quotes an unnamed expert in psychopharmacology saying. "Consistent with the known biobehavioral effects of cannabinoids and Kaitlyin Hayes' state of intoxication, it is concluded that her ability to drive was compromised, she was at a significant risk for a serious or fatal crash, and her intoxication was a significant contributing factor to this incident."
The investigation was conducted by Absecon police and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Crash Investigations Unit.
Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Absecon Police at 609-641-0667 or the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7692.
Note: The Atlantic County Justice Facility no longer provides mugshots to the media, citing the Atlantic County prosecutor's order. The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office says it's part of the Attorney General's Guidelines. There is no such guideline, according to the Attorney General's Office, but they have told these offices for years that they should not release any photos that appear to be mugshots.