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Roommate Says He Turned Suspect In Deadly Winslow Township Hit-And-Run In To Police

By Robin Rieger

WINSLOW TWP, NJ (CBS) - Charges have been filed relating to a deadly hit-and-run accident that killed a man in Camden County Saturday night, according to the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office (see related story).

Fifty-four-year-old Joseph D. Thornton, of Winslow, was charged on Monday with Death by Auto and Leaving the Scene of a Fatal accident.

Authorities allege Thornton was driving a Pontiac Grand Am when he struck 59-year-old Ezekiel Tomboyeke of Chesilhurst on Pump Branch Road in Winslow Saturday night. Thornton is accused of driving away from the victim.

Authorities first said an anonymous tip drew police to Thornton’s home early Sunday morning.

Now, Thornton’s roommate at Mary Court tells Robin Rieger that he turned Thornton in when the latter would not go to police himself.

“Whoever turned him in, I want to say a lot of thanks,” says Tomboyeke’s sister-in-law, Rosa Mustapha. She and other family members are grateful that Thornton, a disc jockey known as “Joey the Hatt,” is behind bars.

Thornton’s roommate says the suspect was at Gino’s Tavern before the accident, and that Thornton initially told him he thought he’d struck a deer on his way home. The tavern owner confirms Thornton was there and says he had only one beer.

Thornton’s roommate says that when he learned a person was killed in a hit-and-run, he urged Thornton to call police, but he refused.

“This guy had no intentions of turning himself in. We pray for God to forgive him for what he’s done to us,” says Rosa Mustapha.

“It’s still not going to bring my uncle back, but at least the family can have a little closure to everything that happened,” explains Alhaji Mustapha, the victim’s nephew.

The roommate made the call on Sunday afternoon, and police picked up Thornton and his badly damaged Pontiac at his home.

“We’re now able to at least have a good night’s sleep, because we haven’t since this happened. We’re still going to cry, because we’re going to miss him so much,” says Haja Mustapha, Tomboyeke’s niece.

According to his family, Tomboyeke was walking along Pump Branch Road from the bus stop after work when he was struck. He worked six days a week saving money, hoping to bring his wife and five children to America from Sierra Leone.

Now, as family members plan the victim’s funeral, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office says Thornton is being held at Camden County Jail on $185,000 bail.

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