Driver Arrested in Death of Boy Fatally Struck on First Birthday

Ronald Rebernik, 62, was allegedly drunk when he struck a family of four
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2018 6:30 PM CDT
Driver Arrested in Death of Boy Fatally Struck on First Birthday
Ronald Rebernik in a booking photo.   (Somerset County Prosecutor's Office)

A suspected New Jersey drunk driver has been arrested and charged in the death of a boy who was killed while on his way to celebrate his first birthday. Per News 12, 62-year-old Ronald Rebernik was arrested Saturday following the tragedy, which left 1-year-old Matias Ortega dead and his 5-year-old brother critically injured. The boys, along with their mother, were on their way to a park when police say Rebernik swerved into the wrong lane, then struck multiple parked cars before careening onto the sidewalk, where he struck the family. NBC New York reports that Rebernik continued to drive on the sidewalk before crashing into more cars and eventually coming to a halt.

The suspect was taken from the scene to a hospital and faces charges including second-degree vehicular homicide, DWI, and DWI in a school zone. Rebernik will be moved to Somerset County Jail upon his discharge from the hospital. Meanwhile, a memorial has appeared in honor of Matias. Balloons, stuffed animals, and other toys have been placed at the spot where the little boy was killed. At the bittersweet scene, members of Matias' family said they are praying Matias' brother, Daniel Ortega, would make a full recovery. (Read more DUI stories.)

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