Arrest made in New Jersey hit-and-run crash that injured 14-year-old, killed horse she was riding

Joseph Devitis was arrested and charged with assault by auto, endangering an injured victim, animal cruelty and other crimes.

Thursday, September 22, 2022
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Tatiana Feliciano, 14, and her cousin Edgar Galarza were riding horseback in Franklin Township along Monroeville Road on September 13 when she was hit.

FRANKLIN TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) -- Police in Gloucester County have arrested a suspect in connection with a hit-and-run crash that injured a 14-year-old girl and killed the horse she was riding.

Tatiana Feliciano, 14, and her cousin Edgar Galarza were riding horseback in Franklin Township along Monroeville Road on September 13.

Police said at about 7:50 p.m., a pickup truck hit the girl and the horse she was riding. He then drove off.

"I looked back and then I looked front to turn her to the side and he had already hit me. I flew off and she fell next to me," Feliciano said.

SEE ALSO: Teen rider injured, horse killed in Gloucester County hit-and-run crash

On Wednesday, authorities said 51-year-old Joseph Devitis, of Salem County, provided detectives with a statement admitting he was the driver of the vehicle involved in this crash.

Devitis was arrested and charged with assault by auto, endangering an injured victim, animal cruelty and other crimes.

Feliciano was taken to Cooper University Hospital.

She is now home recovering from three hematomas.

The horse, named Predator, died at the scene.

"I feel hurt. Like I don't know, just angry about it," Feliciano said.

The teen misses her beloved horse.

"She was our first everything. We learned on her. If he did that to me, then he might just do it to other people. He took my horse's life and he didn't care he just kept going," Feliciano said.

While the family is happy an arrest was made, they are upset that he has been released on a summons pending a court date.