ELIZABETH, New Jersey (WABC) -- A New Jersey man accused of intentionally running over a woman several times was ordered held without bail Tuesday, after the judge declared him a danger to the public.
Prosecutors say 56-year-old Vincent Jean drove directly at the 23-year-old victim, Morgan Scott, as she took photos of his car after the pair were involved in a minor car accident on Salem Avenue and Aberdeen Road in Elizabeth on the morning of April 11.
She was standing on the sidewalk at the time, and Jean allegedly drove up onto a lawn to run her over as she ran from his vehicle. She was run over at least three times before police say Jean fled the scene.
Scott suffered severe injuries, including a fractured neck, spine and lacerated liver, and she was taken to University Hospital in critical condition.
Elizabeth police eventually located Jean sitting alone in the driver's seat of his parked, damaged SUV on Jefferson Avenue. Prosecutors said he is unemployed and has a prior violent conviction for aggravated assault.
The harrowing incident was caught on video, and there were at least five witnesses.
The judge said she saw that video, that the crime was "horrific and intentional," that the evidence against Jean is overwhelming, and that there were no release conditions that would protect the victim, the witnesses, or the community at large.
She also noted that there was a school bus nearby, and that kids could have witnessed the crime or gotten hurt themselves.
The judge said Jean showed depraved indifference to human life and called it a miracle that the victim lived.
Jean is charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, third-degree assault by auto, third-degree leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident with serious bodily injury, third-degree endangering an injured victim and third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
He is due back in court on June 1.
A GoFundMe page set up to help Scott cover her medical expenses has nearly reached its $100,000 goal as of Tuesday afternoon.
Her family released the following statement last week:
"The family would like to express its gratitude for the expedient response to this incident by the Union County Prosecutor's Office, the Elizabeth Police Department, EMS workers as well as Elizabeth Mayor, Chris Bollwage. We also want to thank the citizens of Elizabeth for their aid and support, especially the school bus driver who intervened and the neighbor who provided the security camera footage of this horrific crime. Your actions and cooperation with law enforcement led to the quick apprehension of the perpetrator. These collective efforts along with the hard-working and diligent actions of the doctors and healthcare professionals at University Hospital, saved our daughter's life. What this man did to our daughter was atrocious and no parent, child or any human being should ever have to endure this. We want to be clear that this was not the result of any domestic dispute. This man was a complete stranger who committed a heinous act of road rage and attempted to kill our daughter simply because she was trying to get necessary information to lawfully report an accident while he was fleeing the scene. Although we are heartbroken and deeply saddened by what happened, we are thankful that our daughter is alive. We are now focused on her care and recovery and will rely on the law enforcement professionals and the court system to dispense justice. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support but we ask that you respect our family's privacy during this time."
Anyone with further information about this incident is being urged to contact Elizabeth Police Detective Thomas Koczur at 908-358-9675 or Detective Edward Benenati at 908-328-6972.