November 10, 2021

Two Fatalities in Route 27 Crash

By Anne Levin

Two people died and one was critically injured following a motor vehicle crash on Princeton Kingston Road (Route 27) near Carnegie Drive, on Sunday afternoon, November 7.

The accident followed a car theft incident and took the lives of a 15-year-old juvenile from Newark, whose name has not been released; and Jodi Marcou, 61, of Kendall Park. Marcou, who was driving westbound on Route 27, was struck head-on by a stolen vehicle driven by the 15-year-old. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

A passenger in the stolen car, 14, also from Newark, was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center and is in critical condition, according to information from the Princeton Police Department.

According to her profile posted on LinkedIn, Marcou was a development specialist at Rutgers University and had previously been coordinator of the Rutgers Jewish Film Festival. She graduated from Rider University in 1980.

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and Princeton Police Department (PPD) released a statement Monday detailing the incident, which started when the police department was called at 12:40 p.m. to a residence on the 100 block of Clover Lane for an attempted motor vehicle theft.

“The victim reported that three unknown suspects entered his vehicle in an attempt to steal the vehicle, which was parked in the driveway. The suspects were driving a 2015 black Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was later determined to be stolen out of Pequannock Township,” reads the statement. “While PPD was on scene investigating the attempted theft, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was observed traveling west on Clover Lane, followed by a 2015 Land Rover Range Rover. It was reported at that time that the Range Rover was just stolen from a residence on Dodds Lane.”

According to the statement, the investigating officer returned to his vehicle and followed behind the Range Rover on Clover Lane. The Jeep Grand Cherokee drove away in an unknown direction. The Range Rover suddenly accelerated at a high rate of speed and the officer attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop. A pursuit ensued but was terminated on Snowden Lane due to the reckless driving of the Range Rover. The vehicle was last seen heading south on Snowden Lane, and made a left turn onto Princeton Kingston Road. It was later found abandoned in Newark.

At 1:09 p.m., PPD was dispatched to Princeton-Kingston Road in the area of Carnegie Drive for a motor vehicle crash. Preliminary on-scene investigations revealed that the Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by the 15-year-old, was traveling east on Princeton Kingston Road and crossed over the double yellow line, striking head-on a 2016 Acura RDX driven by Marcou.

During public comment at a meeting of Princeton Council Monday evening, a resident of Clearview Avenue said that the chase was not limited to Clover Lane. She was walking on Clearview with her daughter when a Land Rover sped by, pursued by the police “at full speed, no sirens,” she said. “It was extremely dangerous. From reading the reports, the impression was given that the police stopped the pursuit. But it appears that it went on much longer than just going from Clover to Snowden.”

The woman asked if there were any procedures in place to prevent such pursuits in residential areas. Mayor Mark Freda said Council would ask Chief Christopher Morgan to review what happened. Municipal Administrator Bernie Hvozdovic said he and Chief Morgan had met to discuss the issue and internal policies will be reviewed.

The crash is being investigated by the Princeton Police Department and Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. PPD is requesting that anybody who witnessed the crash to contact Traffic Safety Bureau supervisor Sergeant Thomas Murray at (609) 921-2100 ext. 1879.