Prominent rabbi ID'd as victim in Princeton crash; charges filed

Chopper 6 was over the scene shortly after a violent crash in Princeton, New Jersey Thursday morning.
March 29, 2013 7:40:09 AM PDT
Charges have been filed in a chain reaction crash that killed a prominent rabbi and left two others seriously injured in Princeton, New Jersey on Thursday.

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Police say 20-year-old Eric Maltz of Princeton was behind the wheel of a car that crashed into a two parked cars outside Riverside Elementary school.

Maltz is charged with one count of Death by Auto and one count of Assault by Auto. He remains hospitalized in police custody. Bail has been set at $100,000.

According to police, it was just after 9:30 a.m. when the 2003 BMW Maltz was driving down Riverside Drive crossed to the other side of the street and crashed head-on into two parked cars.

The force of the crash was so great the second car, a blue Prius, flew backwards clear across the street and slammed into a tree.

"I heard a squeal and a bang. That's all I heard and I didn't see anything happen. I saw the aftermath of the impact," Robert Goldenberg of Princeton said.

The impact instantly killed 74-year-old James Diamond of Princeton who was just stepping into the Prius at the time of the crash. 63-year-old Robert Freedman was sitting in the driver seat of the Prius when the crash happened and was seriously injured.

Diamond was a retired rabbi and director for Princeton University's Center for Jewish Life.

Police don't know yet if Eric Maltz was distracted or under the influence, but one thing they are sure of is that he was speeding.

"Right now our investigation shows that vehicle was traveling apparently at an excessive rate of speed. There doesn't show any signs of breaking right now," Captain Nick Sutter of the Princeton Police Department said.

The posted speed limit is 25 mph.

The crash took place right in front of Riverside Elementary school and neighbors are grateful that kids are out on spring break

"You don't know who would have been on the sidewalk or parents crossing the street bringing their kids there," resident Phillip Papier said.

Police sealed off the area for most of the morning while they examined the scene, hoping to learn more about the cause of this deadly crash.

As is usually the case when a fatality occurs, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office is working with Princeton police on the investigation.


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