Authorities have arrested a New Jersey man in a crash that killed a popular Jersey City science teacher and his 5-year-old daughter on a busy New Jersey highway Monday afternoon.
Scott Hahn, 36, is charged with two counts of manslaughter and two counts of vehicular homicide in the deaths of Tim O'Donnell, a science teacher at County Prep High School, and his 5-year-old daughter Bridget, New Jersey state police said Tuesday.
Hahn, of Hamilton, was processed at State Police Newark Station and jailed on $1 million bail, according to state police. Attorney information wasn't immediately clear.
Hahn was driving a 1998 Mercedes-Benz when he rear-ended O'Donnell's car near the toll booths of the westbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike Extension at exit 14C in Jersey City, sending O'Donnell's car through the tolls and into the eastbound lane, police said.
That's where O'Donnell was hit by another vehicle, a health care van owned by the company Care Point.
O'Donnell was pronounced dead on the scene, and his daughter was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.
O'Donnell's wife, Pam O'Donnell is mourning the blow, just two years after she beat cancer.
"I'm struggling with how I survived cancer to have my life ripped apart from me," she said. "My best friend and my daughter (are gone)."
Pam O'Donnell said that while she was undergoing cancer treatments, her daughter held her hand and gave her medicine every four hours.
"I don't know what I'm going to do with out her...that's irreplaceable," she said.
The grieving widow said that her older daughter, who is 6, has asked her if she was going to get married again so she could have a father.
"The first thing she asked was if I was going to get remarried because she wants a daddy," she said. "She wanted somebody to be a daddy."
Students and faculty at the school where Tim O'Donnell were also grieving the loss, taking to social media to send condolences and share remembrances.
"Mr. O'Donnell was a tremendous asset for our students, his fellow teachers and staff of County Prep," school Superintendent Frank Gargiulo said in a statement. "We are forever grateful for his contributions to the school district, and he will always be remembered in our hearts and minds."
"Our entire community is devastated at the loss of Tim O'Donnell," County Prep Principal Barbara Mendolla said in a statement. "Tim was a big guy with a big heart. His students, colleagues and everyone who knew him truly loved him and he will be incredibly missed by all of us.”
Funeral services for the father and daughter are set for Saturday.
Hahn and the driver of the Care Point van were also taken to local hospitals with minor to moderate injuries after the crash Monday.
Hahn has had his license suspended 28 times early in his driving years, according to motor vehicle records, mostly for administrative reasons but also four times for speeding and twice for unsafe operation of a motor vehicle. His record has been clear the past 9 years.