A tragic incident led to a 32-year-old Toms River woman receiving a five-year prison sentence for a drunk-driving collision that claimed the life of a New Jersey man's life, as Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced.
Ashley Beams had previously pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in connection with the demise of 62-year-old James "Jimmy" Cruz from Parlin last year.
In addition to her guilty plea for vehicular homicide, Beams also admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol. As a result, she will have her driving privileges suspended for one year upon her release from prison.
Under the No Early Release Act, Beams was handed a five-year sentence, with eligibility for parole after serving slightly over four years.
The tragic incident unfolded on the night of February 8, 2022, around 10:30 p.m., prompting a swift response from Toms River police following reports of a collision.
James Cruz had been retrieving something from the trunk of his parked vehicle in the vicinity of Bay Avenue and Twin Oaks Avenue when Beams' car veered onto the shoulder, striking him. The impact left the victim pinned between the two vehicles, and he was tragically pronounced dead at the scene.
While Beams was taken for medical treatment due to injuries sustained in the crash, blood samples collected at a local hospital revealed that her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeded the legal limit of .08 significantly.