Winslow Township man charged in fatal hit-and-run

March 18, 2013 3:42:07 PM PDT
Police have announced charges in a hit-and-run that claimed the life of a man in Camden County over the weekend.

Action News was there just before 11:00 p.m. Sunday as 54-year-old Joseph D. Thornton, covering his face with a shirt, was brought into Winslow Township Police Headquarters.

Authorities believe he is the driver who struck 59-year-old Ezekiel Tomboyeke on Saturday along Pump Branch Road.

Thornton, of the first block of Mary Court in Winslow, is charged with Death by Auto and Leaving the Scene of a Fatal accident. He is being held at the Camden County Jail on $185,000 cash bail.

Police say an anonymous tip drew investigators to Thornton's home early Sunday morning, where they found the Pontiac believed to have been involved in the incident. The vehicle had visible damage.

On Sunday night, the victim's family gathered to grieve and wait for answers - each still taken back by the harsh way their relative was killed.

"This is the world we live in and it's scary. That you could hit a human being - not a dog, not an ant - a father, a son, an uncle," the victim's niece Haja Mustapha said.

Police say it was sometime before 11:30 p.m. when Tomboyeke was walking home from a nearby bus stop after a night at work when he was hit by a car, believed to be a blue 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix, and left on the side of the road.

Tomboyeke was transported to Virtua Hospital in Berlin, New Jersey where he was pronounced dead.

Family members say the 59-year-old victim worked 6-day weeks and sent every penny earned to his wife and five children back home in Sierra Leone, Africa. The money paid for his children's education.

"They're crying, they're devastated they can no longer talk to their father again," Mustapha said.

Progress in the case is providing relief to a family hopeful for justice.

Anyone with information on the hit-and-run crash can submit a tip to the Winslow Township Police Department at 609-561-0895.