2013-02-06 / Front Page

Edison man charged with burglary, manslaughter

Suspect also charged with attempted murder of police officer

EDISON — A township man was charged with causing the death of his passenger while fleeing police after breaking into a diner Jan. 24, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Chief Richard Ivone of the Piscataway Police Department.

Troy Hafesh, 43, was charged with the aggravated manslaughter of his passenger, another 43-year-old man whose name was not released.

The man was pronounced dead at 10:20 a.m. on Jan. 24, after the vehicle in which he was riding crashed in the parking lot of a vacant restaurant on South Washington Avenue in Piscataway.

Hafesh also has been charged with burglary, eluding police, causing the death of the man while driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of the crash, and the attempted murder of a police officer who tried to stop the defendant and his passenger as they fled.

Police were dispatched to the Fontainbleau Diner on Stelton Road in Piscataway after receiving a call at 5:42 a.m. alerting them to a burglary there.

Upon arriving, police entered the diner, saw two men fleeing and attempted to stop them, authorities said. The pair got into a vehicle and allegedly tried to run down an officer, who dove to safety. The officer was not injured.

The men fled in the vehicle, a 1998 Nissan Pathfinder, down Stelton Road. Police lost sight of the vehicle before they could get into their cars, and were unable to pursue the suspects.

As police searched for the suspects, they received a call at 6:48 a.m. from a resident who said a stranger arrived at his house and asked for help.

Police were dispatched to Brookside Road, saw Hafesh, and arrested him.

At 6:58 a.m., a police officer saw that the Nissan Pathfinder had crashed in the parking lot of the former Charlie Brown’s restaurant, now vacant, on South Washington Avenue. The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation by Detective Joseph Reilly of the Piscataway Police Department and Investigator Scott Crocco of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that after fleeing the diner, Hafesh drove to Metlars Lane and crashed in the restaurant parking lot before running away.

Hafesh is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, set in New Brunswick by Superior Court Judge Joseph Paone.

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Reilly of the Piscataway Police Department at 732-562-2364, or Investigator Crocco of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-745-4471.

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