A woman from Toms River has been sentenced to five years behind bars in connection to a fatal crash last year.

Last Friday, 32-year-old Ashley Beams learned her fate after she pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in the death of 62-year-old James Cruz of Old Bridge Township.

Additionally, Beams pleaded guilty to driving while under the influence of alcohol and had her license suspended for a year.

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office says on the night of February 8th, 2022,

Beams had been traveling eastbound on Bay Avenue approaching the cross street of Twin Oaks Drive. Shortly after passing Twin Oaks Drive, Beams failed to maintain her lane of travel and entered the shoulder - striking Mr. Cruz, who at the time was retrieving a package from the trunk of his vehicle. As a result of the collision, Mr. Cruz was pinned between the two vehicles and carried a significant distance eastbound on Bay Avenue.

Cruz died at the scene.

Bay and Twin Oaks in Toms River NJ - Photo: Google Maps
Bay and Twin Oaks in Toms River NJ - Photo: Google Maps
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Beams was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune for treatment of injuries she sustained in the crash.

Blood samples taken from Beams at the hospital and in furtherance of the investigation revealed that her Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at the time of the collision was substantially higher than .08, which was above the legal limit.

On February 16th, 2022, Beams was arrested at her home, processed, and then released as a consequence of New Jersey bail reform.

Beams' sentence falls under the No Early Release Act, which means she must serve 85%, or just over 4 years, before becoming eligible for parole.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer thanked the Toms River Township Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office for their work in this case.

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