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Hit-and-Run Accident on Route 206 by Starbucks in Skillman Puts 20-year-old Pedestrian in Hospital

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted on March 8, 2023

A driver struck a 20-year-old Skillman woman who was attempting to cross State Road in front of Starbucks on Monday, March 6 at 7:50 pm. Police are looking for people who may have seen the accident in an attempt to find the driver, who left the young woman on the southbound shoulder of the road with serious injuries.

The woman, identified as Isis Birt, 20, of Skillman, was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, according to Montgomery Township Police Lt. Tom Frascella. The department put a signboard at the scene of the accident, asking for witnesses to the accident to call the police department.

The sign is located at the scene of the accident on Route 206 in Montgomery Township, by Starbucks and The Tiger's Tale restaurant. Photo by Barbara A. Preston taken on March 8.

The driver of the vehicle that struck Birt continued southbound on Route 206 without stopping, Frascella said. Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to contact Officer Jason Clifford at 908.359.


Traffic Safety

Burgeoning housing and commercial developments near the busy intersection by Wawa at routes 206 and 518 has led to an increase in both traffic and pedestrians who walk to some of the new and older businesses in the area. Sidewalks exist on a portion of the roadways, however, some of the walkways lead pedestrians to complete their journeys using the shoulder of the road. At times, pedestrians can be seen jaywalking in an attempt to shorten their walk.

Several people commented on a recent Somerset County survey that residents should be able to enjoy a walk or a bike ride in the community where they live, especially in areas where it is a short walk for many to the local businesses, including ShopRite, restaurants, a bike shop, a chocolate boutique, medical offices, spas and massage salons, a movie theater, shoe shop, dry cleaners, fitness centers, banks, and more. Also, for every walker or bicyclist, there is potentially one less car on the road.

The hit-and-run crash this week, however, confirms the fear that it is indeed dangerous to be a pedestrian or cyclist in Montgomery Township. In fact, The Montgomery Township School district does not allow students to ride bikes to school.

Mayor Devra Keenan said Montgomery Township officials are looking at ways to notify pedestrians on ways to keep themselves safe. "Cross at the crosswalks and make sure you walk facing traffic if you must walk alongside a road — even when on sidewalks," she said. "I always assume that cars are going to fly off the road. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I think it's always important to face the traffic so you can keep your eyes on what is happening on the roads."

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Montgomery Township officials also are working with state and county officials, who own and operate routes 206 and 518 in Montgomery Township. County Road 601, which passes between the high school and a county park (Skillman Park) and also through the historic community of Blawenburg at Route 518, are also on the radar for potentially life-saving improvements.

Somerset County is creating a Transportation Plan that will guide transportation policies and infrastructure investment, and establish a shared vision for transportation in Somerset County over the next 20 years. An interactive map collected comments from residents to help the county identify issues with the county transportation network and opportunities for improvement. "We need your expertise on the streets you walk, bike, take transit, and/or drive everyday," according to the survey.

Several comments mention that a crosswalk is needed in the very spot where the hit-and-run crash occurred this week. Twenty-two people agreed.

Above and below: Comments made on the Somerset County interactive map page about the unsafe conditions on NJ Route 206 near County Route 518.


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