Prosecutor: Area Man Indicted on Armed Home Invasion, Vehicular Homicide Charges

A Monmouth County Grand Jury has returned a 19-count indictment against an area man in connection with armed home invasion and vehicular homicide charges stemming from an Aug. 14 incident, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced on Friday.

Altonia Williams, 46, of Long Branch, was indicted on: one count of armed robbery and armed burglary, four counts of aggravated assault by pointing a firearm, and one count each of unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, possession of a prohibited weapon, eluding, hindering, certain persons not to have a weapon, felony murder, vehicular homicide, aggravated manslaughter while eluding, aggravated assault while eluding, knowingly leaving the scene of an accident involving death, driving while suspended, and causing death and assault by auto.

The case background …

On Monday, Aug. 14, shortly before 4 a.m., Long Branch Police were dispatched to Narragansett Avenue on a report of an armed home invasion. The caller was awoken in the middle of the night and discovered a man in the living room armed with a gun demanding money.  Police responded to the area and found a white BMW driving away from the scene.

Long Branch Police Corporal Cruz ordered the driver to stop, but he fled. Minutes later, Long Branch Police Officer Brito observed the vehicle speeding toward him. The white BMW then collided with Officer Brito’s patrol car. During the crash, which occurred in the area of MacArthur and Elmwood avenues in Long Branch, the 38-year-old female front-seat passenger in the BMW was seriously injured.

She was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center (JSUMC) in Neptune, where she was pronounced dead at 7:12 a.m. Officer Brito was also transported to JSUMC for treatment of injuries from the collision. He was treated and later released.

The driver of the vehicle, identified as Williams, fled after the crash and was found hiding in a bush with a loaded handgun.

An investigation conducted by the Monmouth County Serious Collision Analysis Response Team (SCART), the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Fatal Accident Investigation Unit and the Long Branch Police Department revealed that Williams’s license was suspended and he was intoxicated from ingesting marijuana at the time of the crash.

The circumstances surrounding the fatal collision are under investigation by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA). A 2019 law, P.L. 2019, c. 1, requires the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. It requires that all such investigations be presented to a state grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved.

— Edited press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office