Drunk driver and alleged killer

LOWER TWP., N.J. - September 14, 2009 Accident investigators returned to Route 9 and Bennetts Crossing on Monday, the scene of the fatal crash.

Lower Township Police say a Chrysler convertible driven by John Lawless, 37, of Northeast Philadelphia crossed the center line and hit a Ford Escort head-on.

Frederick Shelton, 44, of Lower Township was killled. His wife Sheri, 44, and their daughter Britany, 13, were injured. Sheri is in critical condition.

Lawless survived and is being charged with a long list of offenses, the most serious of which are death by auto and two counts of aggravated assault.

His DUI history shows seven prior DUI arrests from October of 1996 until December, 2008. Police say he served minimal jail time for four convictions and has been without a license since 2001.

"In my 25 years of law enforcement, I've never seen anything like this," said Chief Edward Donohue of the Lower Township Police.

In fact, Chief Donohue knew the victim. Fred Shelton details cars, including Lower Township's police vehicles.

A source tells Action News that Lawless suffered a lacerated bladder in the crash. He is being trated at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. Police are guarding his room and, once he recovers, he'll be moved to the Cape May County Jail.

Bail has been set at $100,000.

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