Fornice Boatner III, Texas man sentenced in fatal Garden State Parkway hit-and-run crash in Woodbridge

Tragically, Fornice Boatner III, a 33-year-old Texas resident, was found guilty of causing the hit-and-run accident that killed 31-year-old Felipe Dos-Santos on the Garden State Parkway and was sentenced to nine years in state prison. The New Jersey State Police performed a comprehensive investigation that resulted in horrific details of the crime that happened on May 25, 2022, and the sentence was handed down on Tuesday.

The Incident

On that fateful day, the Holmdel Station of the New Jersey State Police received a report of a body discovered in a ditch off the Garden State Parkway at milepost 130.4 in Woodbridge. The victim, Felipe Dos-Santos, was found lifeless, his tragic fate sealed by a hit-and-run driver who callously left the scene after colliding with him. The investigation, led by the Troop “D” Criminal Investigation Office, unveiled a harrowing sequence of events.

Dos-Santos, at approximately 1 a.m., was walking northbound on the shoulder of the Garden State Parkway near milepost 130.4 when he was struck by a vehicle. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene, leaving Dos-Santos with fatal injuries. Detectives worked tirelessly to piece together the puzzle of this heartbreaking incident and identified the suspect’s vehicle as a 2007 silver Dodge Ram truck with a temporary Texas license plate.

Boatner’s Escape and Connection to Another Hit-and-Run

As the investigation deepened, it was revealed that Boatner was the owner of the Dodge Ram involved in the hit-and-run. Shockingly, officials discovered that Boatner had fled New Jersey and returned to his home in Cleveland, Texas, following the crash. This evasion tactic, however, did not deter the relentless pursuit of justice.

The investigation took an even more sinister turn when detectives uncovered that Boatner was wanted in Houston for his involvement in yet another hit-and-run crash. This revelation underscored the urgency and importance of bringing Boatner to justice, not only for the tragic death of Dos-Santos but also for the potential harm he posed to others on the road.

Arrest and Extradition

On May 28, 2022, the wheels of justice began to turn as Boatner and his Dodge Ram were located in Cleveland, Texas, by members of the Houston Police Department and Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. Shortly thereafter, Boatner was arrested at his residence by members of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and confined to the Liberty County Jail.

The extradition process swiftly followed, with Boatner being transported back to New Jersey in June 2022 to face the charges levied against him. Throughout this period, Dos-Santos’ family awaited closure, hopeful that the legal system would hold Boatner accountable for his actions.

Plea and Sentencing

In a significant development, Boatner, faced with the overwhelming evidence against him, pleaded guilty in January. This admission of guilt marked a crucial step towards closure for Dos-Santos’ grieving family and friends. On Tuesday, the culmination of the legal proceedings occurred as Boatner received a nine-year sentence in state prison for second-degree knowingly leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident resulting in death.

The sentencing of Fornice Boatner III serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of reckless and irresponsible behavior on the road. The tragic loss of Felipe Dos-Santos and the subsequent legal proceedings highlight the importance of holding individuals accountable for their actions, especially when those actions result in the loss of innocent lives. As we reflect on this case, let it serve as a call for increased awareness and responsibility on our roads, with the hope that such incidents become rare, and justice continues to prevail for victims and their families.