Newark – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that James Sterling, 30, also known as James Megget, of Elizabeth entered a guilty plea yesterday to two counts of aggravated manslaughter.
On Nov. 19, 2012, while driving a Chrysler Pacifica SUV, Sterling hit an ambulance, setting off a multi-vehicle crash on South Orange Avenue and South 9th Street in Newark. A food truck and county transportation bus were involved in the crash. Two people, traveling in the ambulance, were killed.
Montclair resident Keith Chipepo, 30, who was employed by the private ambulance company, was killed in the crash on Nov. 19, 2012, Martha Conley, 58, of Newark, who was a patient in the ambulance, died from her injuries on Nov. 28, 2012.
Sterling was originally charged with eluding, aggravated assault, driving with a suspended license and causing death and bodily injury.
Appearing before the Honorable Ronald D. Wigler, Presiding Criminal Court Judge in Essex County, yesterday he pled guilty to two counts of aggravated manslaughter. Under the terms of the plea agreement he is expected to be sentenced to 13 years in New Jersey State Prison. Under the No Early Release Act, Sterling must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 16 before Judge Wigler.
The case was handled by Assistant Prosecutor Jason Hollingsworth.
“This was a terrible crash that resulted in the death of two innocent people,’’ said Hollingsworth.