Police officer responding to call hits, kills pedestrian in Ocean County

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Authorities say a police officer responding to a call struck and killed a pedestrian who was trying to cross a roadway in southern New Jersey.

Ocean County prosecutors say the accident occurred around 3:25 a.m. Sunday on Lacey Road in Lacey Township.

Witnesses told authorities that 25-year-old Neil Vandeputt, of Toms River, was crossing against the traffic signal when he was struck by a cruiser driven by Lacey officer Andrew Slota.

Prosecutors say Slota tried to avoid Vandeputt, who was struck by the front passenger side of the vehicle. Slota's cruiser then struck a utility pole and came to rest in a bank parking lot.

Vandeputt was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. Slota was treated at a hospital for undisclosed injuries that are not considered life-threatening.

The accident is under investigation by the prosecutor's office, a standard practice in such matters when a police officer is involved. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Further details about the accident were not disclosed, including whether Slota's sirens or flashing lights were on when the crash occurred. Information about the call Slota was responding to also was not released.
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