New Jersey driver gets 15 years for killing boy on 1st birthday

SOMERVILLE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A man who mowed down a mother and her two children, killing one of them, on a New Jersey sidewalk while drunk and high on drugs was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday.

Ronald Rebernik, 62, of Raritan, previously pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and assault by auto for the July 7, 2018, incident, which occurred within 1,000 feet of St. Ann's Elementary School in Raritan.

Matias Ortega had just turned 1 and was killed while his mother pushed him in a stroller to his birthday party.

Rebernik was operating his 2004 Ford Escape southbound on Anderson Street when he crossed to the northbound side, struck two parked vehicles, left the roadway and continued southbound on the sidewalk, where he then struck Matias, his 5-year-old brother Daniel and their mother.

Authorities say Rebernik then continued southbound on the sidewalk and reentered the roadway, striking two more parked vehicles on the northbound side of Anderson Street before becoming disabled.

Matias, born July 7, 2017, was airlifted from the scene and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The 5-year-old was in critical condition, while the mother also suffered serious injuries.

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