EXCLUSIVE: A 65-year-old Hawthorne widow now faces vehicular manslaughter charges following the overnight death of a hit-and-run victim who was struck as he crossed a street carrying groceries in Glen Rock nine days ago.
The victim, also 65, died Wednesday night at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, family members said.
Detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, in turn, made arrangements for the driver, Marina M. Lee, to surrender to them Thursday afternoon to face upgraded charges.
Lee was found with her damaged Chevy Tahoe in a Godwin Avenue parking lot in Midland Park after hitting the victim in front of the SuperFresh on Lincoln Avenue in Hawthorne just before 8:30 p.m. March 5, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo said.
The Tahoe headed north on Lincoln Avenue -- with heavy front-end damage -- after the crash before Midland Park police spotted it and nabbed Lee in the Burger King parking lot, authorities said.
Responders said Lee claimed to have thought she struck an animal -- and even stopped and got out of the truck to clear her windshield of rice pudding that the victim had been carrying when he was struck.
Lee, who works as an office manager, originally was charged with leaving the scene of a crash resulting in serious body injury, Calo said.
She was being charged Thursday with leaving a scene resulting in death -- essentially vehicular manslaughter.
PHOTOS: Boyd A. Loving, who also contributed to this report.
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