Authorities say 29-year-old Lawnside resident John J. Gibson operated the vehicle in a reckless manner when he crashed the engine into oncoming traffic, killing two Pine Hill residents in January 2022.
By Matt Skoufalos | July 29, 2022
A Lawnside firefighter and police officer has been charged criminally in a fatal crash that claimed the lives of two Pine Hill residents earlier this year.
John J. Gibson, 29, of Lawnside, faces one count each of second-degree reckless vehicular homicide and third-degree hindering apprehension or prosecution in the deaths of 68-year-old John Bishop and 75-year-old Marie Endicott, both of Pine Hill.
According to the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office (CCPO), Gibson was behind the wheel of a Lawnside fire apparatus approaching a red light at the intersection of Warwick Road and the White Horse Pike in Magnolia just before 10 a.m. on January 19, 2022.
Gibson allegedly “drove the truck into the opposing lane of travel, against the designated flow of traffic, and around other vehicles” that were stopped at the intersection, according to the CCPO.
Authorities say that his decision to travel through the red light without stopping at the intersection is what led Gibson to crash the fire vehicle into a Nissan Sentra being driven by Bishop with Endicott in the front passenger seat.
At the time of the collision, Lawnside officials said that the truck was responding to a cardiac emergency. Fire companies from Somerdale, Hi-Nella, Magnolia, and Lawnside encircled the site for nearly three hours after the crash, diverting traffic while investigators cleared the scene.
In addition to serving as a firefighter within the borough department, Gibson, a 2017 graduate of the Camden County College Police Academy, was sworn in as a Class II officer with the Lawnside Police Department in November 2020.
It was not immediately known whether he continues to operate in either or both official capacities while the case is being resolved, as calls to both the borough police and fire departments were not returned by press time.
If convicted, charges of vehicular manslaughter can result in a sentence of five to 10 years in prison, a fine of as much as $150,000, and loss of license.
All persons charged with a crime are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
An arrest is not a conviction.
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