RNJ News Department

Mountain Lakes man indicted in DWI crash that killed a family of 3 on Route 80

MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) — Bhavuk Uppal, 23, of Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, who’s accused of killing a Kentucky family of three and leaving two injured in a DWI crash on Route 80 in July, was indicted Thursday on manslaughter and death by auto charges, authorities said.

Uppal is facing three counts of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, three counts of second-degree death by auto, three counts of third-degree death caused while driving with a suspended license, two counts of fourth-degree assault by auto and two counts of fourth-degree unlawful taking of means of conveyance, the Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp said in a news release.

During the early morning hours of July 11, 2015, a motor vehicle crash occurred involving multiple vehicles on Route 80 westbound in Rockaway Township,authorities said.

Uppal’s Cadillac Escalade struck a Kia stopped in front of him in traffic near a highway construction area in Rockaway Township, killing Briana Mae Anderson, 21, her fiance, Edward Russell Hitt, 24, and their 18-month-old daughter, Charlotte Reagan Hitt, all of Jeffersontown, Ky. Anderson was also pregnant, State Police said.

The collision caused the Kia to burst into flames. The three occupants of the Kia were pronounced dead at the scene and two men in the Jeep suffered minor injuries,police said.

Uppal was previously charged in a summons with possession of a hypodermic needle in connection with this crash, the prosecutor’s office said.

“It is alleged that (Uppal) operated his vehicle recklessly, and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life,” Knapp said in a statement. “It is also alleged that at the time of this incident, (Uppal) was operating a vehicle recklessly, in part, by speeding, driving while having a suspended license, and being under the influence of alcohol and narcotics.”

Uppal remains in the custody at the Morris County Correctional Facility on $750,000 bail.

By: Jay Edwards
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