Arrest made in fatal hit-and-run of beloved New Jersey elementary school teacher

LINDEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- Authorities announced they have made an arrest in connection to the fatal hit-and-run of a beloved elementary school teacher in New Jersey.

A Linden man was charged Wednesday for multiple serious crimes in connection with the hit-and-run killing of 35-year-old Meghan Crilly that took place two months ago.

Police say 39-year-old Ibn Collins tried to hide his involvement by removing the damage to his vehicle in an effort to conceal the crime.

Authorities revealed that on Jan. 20 just before 2 a.m., Crilly and three friends were crossing North Wood Avenue at its intersection with St. Georges Avenue in Linden when Collins -- driving a red 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee -- allegedly struck her with his vehicle.

Police said Collins did not slow down or stop following the impact, but continued through the intersection.

The investigation later revealed that Collins had been drinking on his birthday at a Kenilworth bar before driving back to Linden that night.

Crilly, a second-grade teacher at Beechwood Elementary School in Mountainside, suffered multiple serious injuries as a result, and she was pronounced dead at a local hospital 11 days later.

Crilly's family said the tragedy has left so much pain for their family and others.

"She touched so many lives out there, this didn't just impact our family, it impacted the children she taught, the school she taught at and the teachers," Crilly's dad said.

"It's abundantly clear from the outpouring of support the victim's family has received that Meghan was an extraordinarily beloved daughter, sister, friend, and teacher," Prosecutor Michael Monahan said. "While this arrest doesn't bring her back, we believe it is a first step toward securing the justice Meghan and her loved ones deserve."

Collins is charged with hindering and tampering with evidence because the investigation further revealed that he leveraged his employment at a Westfield auto body shop to hide his vehicle following the accident, and also to order replacement parts and repair it there in an attempt to conceal his responsibility for the crime.

Collins was arrested without incident late Tuesday afternoon and taken to Union County Jail pending a first appearance and detention hearing, both tentatively scheduled for Monday.

The State has filed a motion to have him detained prior to trial due to the seriousness of the charges and other factors.

Convictions on charges of this nature are commonly punishable by up to 30 years in state prison.

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