More Charges in Somers Point Bar Wreck

Driver who allegedly caused deadly wreck faces serious charges

The man who was allegedly intoxicated behind the wheel when he reportedly plowed his car into a South Jersey bar now faces aggravated manslaughter charges.

Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel announced Tuesday that more charges have been filed against Antonio Vargas, the driver allegedly involved in a deadly crash in Somers Point on Jan. 6.

Vargas, 22, was already charged with being involved in a fatal accident while driving with a suspended license, a third-degree offense. On Tuesday Housel added aggravated manslaughter and assault charges. 

The manslaughter charge carries a prison sentence up to 30 years and up to $200,000 in fines, according to prosecutors.

Vargas, a Somers Point resident, was allegedly traveling at a high speed on Shore Road in Somers Point when he crashed his car into a telephone pole and sent a fire hydrant flying before the vehicle finally stopped at the door of Gregory's Restaurant & Bar.

The crash killed Vargas’ passenger, 33-year-old Kevin Botta of Somers Point, while the flying fire hydrant seriously injured a bystander, 26-year-old Joseph Higbee of Northfield, who was at the bar to celebrate his birthday.

Higbee and Vargas were both hospitalized after the wreck but have since been released.

Vargas' bail was set at $350,000 cash or bond. His attorney asked for a bail reduction during his first court appearance in court Wednesday.

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