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Officials Call For Shutdown Of Mental Health Facility After Resident Killed By Cars On Route 33

Route 33 where four Manalapan Manor residents have been killed by motor vehicles since 2014.
Route 33 where four Manalapan Manor residents have been killed by motor vehicles since 2014. Photo Credit: Google Maps

A 38-year-old man who died after being struck by two cars on Route 33 this week was the fourth group home resident killed there since 2014, authorities said.

The fatality immediately prompted town leaders to call for the shutdown of the long-troubled healthcare facility.

The resident from Newark was walking outside of the crosswalk when he was struck by two cars at 7:20 p.m. Wednesday at Route 33's intersection with Woodward Road, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office  He has not been identified by police.

He was struck by a 32-year-old Neptune woman, and then hit again by a 54-year-old woman from East Windsor, who struck the man as he lay in the roadway.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. Both women stayed at the scene, police said.

For years, town officials have complained to the state about safety issues and filthy living conditions at Manalapan Manor.

In a letter Thursday, Deputy Mayor Susan Cohen again urged state regulators to close the Manor. The facility, she said, puts its residents in danger, has “disgusting living conditions,” and has seen multiple residents killed by vehicles, and other causes.

Local police have responded to numerous calls at the Manor, including for mental health concerns, disorderly conduct and harassment.

Complaints about the facility include “multiple inoperative toilets at the same time, backing up sewage in bathtubs, infestations of cockroaches, bedbugs and flies, strong odors of cigarettes, insufficient food and generally dirty and un-clean conditions,” according to the township. Manor residents were often reported to be unsupervised “wandering on the state highway” and panhandling in the road.

“In the letter that we sent on Nov. 6, 2019, we clearly stated, ‘Residents of Manalapan should not have to fear driving down Route 33 and killing someone or driving into a panhandler,’” Thursday's letter from the deputy mayor read.

“The township does not believe the owner of the facility is capable or willing to operate a quality facility in accordance with applicable regulations for the benefit of the citizens who reside there,” a statement from the town said. “That is why we strongly urge the NJ Department of Community Affairs to revoke their license.”

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