Centenary University president’s wife dies after hit and run

Centenary University president’s wife dies after hit-and-run crash in Hackettstown.
Jeanne Murphy, married to President Bruce Murphy, was on her morning walk when she was struck. She died Sunday, the university said.

OnTheEdge OnTheEdge
2 weeks ago

Arrest made.

danny zucko danny zucko
2 weeks ago

I’m shocked. I’m a street away, basically looking at their house… they also lost their previous dog this year which also got hit by a car and killed.
As a resident of the college neighborhood l can fully attest to the drivers in this area speeding constantly, not stopping at stop signs, and generally not paying attention. Just this week THEIR neighbor had his car severely damaged, again, hit and run. And both my car and my wife’s car have been hit as well when they were parked on the street in front of our house.
It’s past time to have the police pay a little more attention to the area. I’ve requested a greater presence or perhaps speed humps but been told by the police there’s nothing they can do about it. Now a neighbor is dead. I feel just awful.

So sad.

Valentine Street is also a dragway. It is 25 mph but cars regularly exceed that speed. They also use Jefferson street as a short cut to go from Grand to Beatty street to avoid having to stop at the intersection of Beatty and Valentine. Coming down Jefferson St, more than half the cars do not stop at the intersection with Valentine. I am truly amazed there are not more accidents there. Also on Valentine you have joggers from the CrossFit and the North Jersey School of Dance. Enforcement of the laws and speed is sorely lacking.

Mr 4Paws Mr 4Paws
2 weeks ago

Tragic to read…..

Will the existing charges be upgraded based on the death?

A terrible loss for the family! I toned my post down, but I strongly question the moral values of anyone that "runs" after hitting someone, and subsequently their right to belong in this country...

This is so sad. Especially given the fact that they were retiring in June, and I'm sure were actively planning their retirement. My thoughts are with her loved ones.

What is there to question? Their moral values are obviously non-existent. Not sure about the "right to belong in this country" comment, though. Are you assuming that it was a non-citizen who did it?

Terrible tragedy. Used to run in that area all the time. And an egregious crime. But inanimal is right. Assuming the driver who fled the scene is not a U.S. citizen because of his/her last name is "you know what."

This person should be hung from the rafters. I hope they charge him with murder.

Illegal, unlicensed, uninsured. Sorry but this is the most likely scenario...

Unfortunately Hoppy that is not an option in this state. However I would be surprised if he is not charged with manslaughter of some sort at minimum. Alcohol use, leaving the scene with injury, etc is quite a problem. His (alleged) immigration status is just salt in the wound at this point.

It is a horrendous situation for all involved.

The details will be made public shortly I'm sure.

"The driver of the vehicle, Jefferson Chimbo-Pelaez, 25, from Hackettstown was later charged and lodged in the Warren County Correctional Facility, police said."


OnTheEdge OnTheEdge
2 weeks ago

So sorry to hear this.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

2 weeks ago

Our hearts ache. Such devastating news for the family, university family and Hackettstown family. Prayers, god bless and god speed to all.

Alamuche Alamuche
2 weeks ago

Unfortunately many drivers in NJ do not understand the concept of slow down, stop at the stop signs, do not tailgate. Situations like this tragedy could have been prevented. Condolences to the family may they be given strength through this hardship.
Apparently not only has Hackettstown become a race track , 46 through Independence is your local F1 speedway. 90mph no issue.

Bryan Simon Bryan Simon
2 weeks ago

Hackettstown Police,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,are you listening?

“ 46 through Independence is your local F1 speedway. 90mph no issue” Ironically, there is a literal drag strip in that exact area where people could “speed” legally.

Very sorry for this family’s loss. The victim’s bio is quite impressive. She seems to have lived an exiting and fulfilling life up to this point. It’s a shame she will never enjoy the retirement she obviously worked so hard for.

I can’t imagine, under any circumstance, killing someone with a car and then fleeing the scene. I hope the penalty for fleeing after what is essentially a murder compounds the perpetrators prison time.

2 weeks ago

Edit above: Exciting* not exiting.

2 weeks ago

And like any other day in this area and like every other incident , people will continue to speed, drive careless, police patrol will be increased temporarily to give the community “peace of mind” and nothing will be accomplished, overtime pay for officers to accomplish nothing. They’ll put more speed sensor signs around Hackettstown, right back to square one.
Condolences to the family, may she rest in peace. Deepest sympathies.

Lucien Stuart Lucien Stuart
2 weeks ago

Divers in this town, or any town for that matter, don't pay attention. I used to run all through this town and the amount of people, including police/town officials, that aren't paying attention/talking on the phone/blatantly look at you and don't let you cross the street is amazing!

Condolences to her family and friends!

2 weeks ago

My heartfelt condolences for this truly unimaginable, totally avoidable, tragedy.

At these speeds, with so many stops signs, just unbelievable that it could happen. I just hope the investigation results in actions to avoid this in the future getting a bit a good out of so much bad. Something went terribly wrong and something should change.

Punishing the guy is one thing, a good thing, but I pray that there something discovered in the investigation that will let Mrs. Murphy be remembered for the changes that can make these streets safer in the future. God rest her soul and let's name a street, a place, something so we all are always reminded of her memory.

I find it rather odd and appalling the flags are not at half staff at Centenary for Mrs. Murphy. She was only the wife of the President and she passed away. How a simple act to pay respects is not done by this college says a lot.

2 weeks ago

Maybe you could contact the Governor's office and request flags at half staff..thats really the only way to do that

I believe the Murphy's only recently moved to NJ from Florida when he became the president in January 2020.He stated they were returning to their home there upon his retirement in June. Typically when the Governor's office makes that declaration it is for a longtime resident, politician or someone who has had a profound and or great impact related to NJ. While this is an unspeakable tragedy, I'm not sure it has a NJ wide impact. With that said I too am surprised the flag is not at half mast at the university at least.

As far as driving habits here in our town with most every street posted at 25mph, the majority of people regularly exceed the posted limit. However, when alcohol is involved the scenario becomes a very different situation.

Wouldn't Centenary's president have to be the one to decide to fly the flag at half staff? I can understand why he wouldn't want to make that call.

I am thinking he has bigger matters on his mind...he lost his wife

I hope something is done by our town or Centenary University to honor her memory.

2 weeks ago

Here is some food for thought. I believe he was nabbed from CCTV cameras from the college parking lots .Which means he was a employee on the midnight shift exiting the parking lot adjacent to Reese Ave. He was probably high on (?) and/or an Illegal with a state sanctioned DL (maybe). The town (Hackettstown) must release to the public a police report. Some of the many questions that arise from this reader is as follows. Is this person an illegal with a state sanctioned DL? Was the automobile he was driving properly insured, was he the owner and if so was it properly insured (which I am sure if it was,was the bare minimum) and as a point of information, you are covered under your car insurance policy in excess of that (P.S. the minimum amount aloud in N.J. is 15,00/30,000/5000, soon to be increased) but still extremely low, ask your agent if you do not understand this! More importantly ask him/her what are your UNINSURED LIMITS to protect you from such a tradegedy,) Why were the charges so lite? subject to change I am sure (Involuntary manslaughter???) and because they were so light is that because the prosecutor is instructed to go "Lite on crime". So many questions, only readers here will be able to put the light of day on this tradegy moving forward,

Naturally he is not making any decisions. In his obvious absence I would think someone is taking on his responsibilities. This simple gesture could easily be made by whoever is second in charge if you will. However, just as most folks, I hadn't given it a thought. I only took note after it was mentioned here earlier.

For all those so concerned about whether or not Centenary is honoring her, there was a candlelight vigil tonight at 5:30 PM on their front lawn. Unfortunately, I missed yesterday's posting about it on their Facebook page, but the point is, it was there.

For anyone actually interested in honoring her, rather than just being a provocateur, as a couple of people have been, there's another notice on their Facebook page:

"Join us on Sunday, January 22 at 1:00 pm EST for a Celebration of Life in honor of Jeanne Picariello Murphy.
The ceremony will take place at the David & Carol Lackland Center (715 Grand Ave, Hackettstown, NJ 07840) and will be live streamed. Light refreshments will be served.
For those that can not be in attendance, visit the live stream at https://vimeo.com/event/2778635 "

Here's the link to their Facebook page, where they also posted a condolence announcement several days ago. I'd urge anyone actually interested in what goes on there to follow it. Their Stage Company and Library also have pages as well.


"Hammer" That's a lot of inflammatory assumptions and conjecture. Normally the police and prosecutors start with the most provable charge. As they find and add evidence, they then work their way up to the most serious charge(s) that they feel the evidence would support in gaining a conviction in a court of law. Filing the easiest to prove charges (that they have actionable evidence for) allows them to arrest and hold the subject while they build a larger case.

Give me a break as this is common sense to have the flags at half staff. She was the wife of the President, the students knew her and either her husband, the President, or whomever is next in command.

Something does not seem right about not doing this simple gesture.

2 weeks ago

Why don’t you call Centenary yourself and suggest that, mangomust?

At this point, this thread is getting disrespectful to him and the family. He's had a loss and he should have our sympathies. Making this an issue is not a good way to honor her memory. She will be missed by many.

2 weeks ago

The story is on the front page of the New York Post this morning online. How sad. I feel for her husband and family.

1 week ago

Phil D., Exactly right. Prosecutors have a tremendous amount of leeway in what they decide to do. My point was to shed light on that fact in the hope that public scrutiny will ensure a fair outcome.

Well here we are. Drunk, and not a citizen of the US as speculated according to the article. This young man is in quite a bit of trouble. It is very sad, just tragic for all involved.


Half Mast according to US Gov.

he United States flag flies at half-staff (or half-mast) when the nation or a state is in mourning. The president, through a presidential proclamation, a state governor, or the mayor of the District of Columbia can order flags to fly at half-staff.


That is true when one wants others to lower the flag as well. Correct only those mentioned can make that proclamation. I have the Flag Code app on my phone and have read it often.

However in this instance:

"Private citizens and non-government buildings may choose to fly their flags at half-staff to honor more local leaders. The Flag Code does not exclude any citizen, whether belonging to an organization or not, whether they are recognized very locally or regionally. Examples of deceased citizens who might be honored with by lowering the flag to half-staff include local religious leaders, youth leaders, honored teachers or sports coaches, local politicians, or a local hero. There need be no authorization from the government for the private sector (non-government) to use the Flag to honor any citizen."

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