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Driver in fatal hit-and-run has plea deal on table from Mercer County prosecutor

Janet Nevius wears a medallion containing some of the ashes of her late son, Charles, a necklace she had on during an Aug. 6 court appearance for the teenager charged with killing him.

Nevius sat with other family members on the prosecution side of a second-floor courtroom in state Superior Court, Trenton, opposite from where Nasir Y. Reed, 18, sat at the defense table with his lawyer.

Reed is charged in a two-count indictment with second-degree vehicular homicide and second-degree leaving the scene of an accident involving a death. The charges stem from a fatal hit-and-run that took place on Feb. 19 in Lawrence Township. Both charges carry up to 10 years in state prison.

The incident took place at the QuickChek convenience store at Brunswick Circle Extension, where Charles Nevius, 35, of Hamilton, worked. Authorities have said Reed hit another vehicle and Nevius tried to stop him. Reed allegedly hit Nevius with his Nissan Altima and kept going, authorities have said.

Nevius sustained a traumatic head injury and a leg injury and later died. He left behind a daughter who is now 12 years old.

Reed was arrested on March 5 and authorities said surveillance footage and a confidential tip aided them in their investigation. A grand jury indicted Reed in May on the two charges he faces. He has pleaded not guilty.

In court this week, assistant Mercer County Prosecutor James Scott said his office has offered Reed a plea bargain calling for him to plead guilty to death by auto. In return, the prosecutor’s office would recommend a seven-year prison sentence that Reed would have to serve 85 percent of, or nearly six years, before becoming eligible for parole. He would be on parole for three years after being released from prison.

Andrew M. Ferencevych, Reed’s lawyer, declined to comment outside the courtroom.

In an interview after Reed’s court appearance, Janet Nevius touched on the toll her oldest son’s death has taken on her family.

“I guess I’m completely shut down,” she said. “I have not shed one tear yet.”

She said she felt the crime Reed is accused of committing should be a more serious offense.

“If somebody kills somebody with an automobile, in New Jersey, they should be charged with homicide or murder. Because that’s what it is,” she said. “If somebody’s driving a car and they run somebody down and they intentionally know they are going to kill somebody, they should be charged with murder.”

Asked if she wants to see Reed take the plea deal, Nevius said it “depends.”

“If he takes the plea deal, it would be over and done with and all the dragging out won’t go on and that might be easier for us,” she said. “But right now, I hope he doesn’t.”

Nevius, who was at Reed’s first court appearance, recalled that he showed no remorse.

“His attitude was nasty, like he just didn’t give a (crap) what he did,” she said.

In addition to the medallion, Nevius carries with her photos she took of her son when he was in the hospital after the hit-and-run; his face unrecognizable.

“That was my son,” she said, holding out one picture.

She said her son’s heart, kidneys and liver were harvested for donation. She said his heart was donated to a man and one of his kidneys was donated to a woman.

“Out of his death,” she said, “he saved four people.”

As for Reed, criminal records showed that two months before the hit-and-run, he was charged with heroin possession, but the case was downgraded to municipal court. Reed, of Trenton, has also been charged with forgery involving vehicle title fraud.

Reed is being held in the Mercer County Correction Center, Hopewell Township. He is due back in court on Sept. 17.

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