A 29-year-old man was high on drugs when he slammed his SUV into a gas station in Wayne, New Jersey, killing three people, authorities say. Jason Vanderee was injured in the crash, but survived. Gas station attendant Lovedeep Fatra died along with a father and son, Jon Warbeck and Luke Warbeck, according to NorthJersey.com.
Vanderee was overdosing on opioids before the crash Tuesday morning, February 19, according to investigators. Surveillance video showed Vanderee’s Honda Pilot flying into the gas station at a high rate of speed and crashing into a Chevrolet Camaro with the Warbecks inside. Jon Warbeck, 50 had stopped to get gas with his 17-year-old son when they were killed. Fatra, 23, who was working at the station, was hit also hit by Vanderee’s SUV.
The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office says Vanderee has been charged with three counts of aggravated manslaughter, three counts of death by auto, three counts of death by auto while driving intoxication within 1,000 feet of school property, along with drug charges, including possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of hypodermic needles and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Here’s what you need to know Jason Vanderee and the triple-fatal crash:
1. Vanderee Was Revived Using the Opioid-Overdose Reversal Drug Narcan at the Scene After Crashing Into the Gas Station, Police Say
Jason Vanderee was revived at the scene of the crash with the opioid-overdose reversal drug Narcan, according to NBC New York. He was taken to a local hospital, but was later released and taken to a local jail, where he remains in custody. Drugs were found in his car, police said.
“The defendant was found to be in possession of empty glassine folds of suspected Heroin and nine full glassine bags of suspected Heroin,” the affidavit in the case states, according to NorthJersey.com. “The defendant was also in possession of a used hypodermic needle, which was found on the floorboard of the vehicle in plain view.”
The crash happened Tuesday morning, February 19, about 9 a.m. at the Delta Gas Station on Route 23, at New York Avenue, in Wayne, New Jersey, according to the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office. The crash killed 50-year-old Jon Warbeck, who would have turned 51 on Wednesday, and his 17-year-old son, Luke Warbeck. They were getting gas at the station. The attendant who was filling up their tank, 23-year-old Lovedeep Fatra, was also killed.
Surveillance video showed Vanderee’s Honda Pilot driving at a high rate of speed into the gas station, slamming into the Chevrolet Camero the Warbecks were inside and into Fatra. Vanderee’s car went airborne during the crash.
According to family and friends, Fatra moved to the United States from India less than two years ago. Fatra was living in Pequannock. He was working at the gas station to send money back home to his family and was planning to start a new job in two weeks as a professional truck driver, NorthJersey.com reports.
“Every day I bring him coffee,” co-worker Tito Krishmamurthy told News 12 New Jersey. “Today I brought a cup of coffee and left it there. He’s such a great kid, such a great kid. Such a shame.”
Jon Warbeck was a former volunteer firefighter in Carlstadt, New Jersey. His son was a junior at Boonton High School. He was on his way to the DMV with his father to get his driver’s license.
“This is just such a tragedy,” Toni Smith, Jon’s sister and Luke’s aunt, told ABC 7 New York. “My nephew was such a smart and vivacious and caring boy. They weren’t even doing anything wrong. They weren’t doing anything wrong. We’re going to have to work very hard to make this something positive, and being consumed in the hatred is not helping anything. But I’m glad he’s going to have to pay for his wrongdoing.”
2. He Had His License Suspended in 2016 for Driving While High & Was Also Arrested on Drug Charges in 2009 When He Was 19
Jason Vanderee had a history of driving issues, including a 2016 arrest for driving while high on drugs, according to state records. His license was suspended in 2017 after that incident. He was also cited for driving offenses in 2018 and 2015 and arrested on drug charges in 2009.
Vanderee was arrested in November 2016 in Fairfield Township on charges of driving under the influence of liquor or drugs, failing to turn drugs over to police, operating a motor vehicle while in possession of narcotics, possession of a hypodermic syringe and careless driving likely to endanger person or property, according to NJ.com. He pleaded guilty in 2017 to driving under the influences and the other charges were dropped. His license was for seven months.
He was previously charged in September 2015 with careless driving on I-287 in Riverdale and paid a $539 fine, NJ.com reports. In January 2018 he was cited for driving the wrong way on a one-way street in Paterson about 3 a.m. and in April 2018 for improperly displaying his license plates.
Vanderee’s first arrest was in 2009, when he was charged in Paterson with wandering and prowling to obtain drugs, according to NJ.com. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in that case.
His license was restored to full status in November 2017 after completing the New Jersey Alcohol Countermeasures Program. In October 2017, he wrote on Facebook, “Look out NJ….this guy will be back on the roads in 30 days ;)”
3. Vanderee Wrote About His Battle With Drug Addiction on His Facebook Page
Jason Vanderee, of Glenwood, New Jersey, has talked often on his Facebook page about his battle with drug addiction, which he has been dealing with since he was a teenager.
A friend, who asked not to be named, told NJ.com that Vanderee had been doing better lately. “He was doing good. We are all unsure of what happened that lead to this. He is a good person. A good person with a bad and dark addiction,” the friend said. An ex-girlfriend, who also asked not to be named, told the news site he had told her recently he was eight months clean.
“He never had issues getting sober. He had trouble staying sober,” the ex-girlfriend told NJ.com. She told the news site he started using drugs in his teens and then his drug use intensified during his early 20s. He was in-and-out of rehab and sober living communities and changed jobs multiple times.
On Facebook, Vanderee wrote on December 10, 2018, “New house, new job… life is good 👌🏻” He said he was working at a warehouse in Monroe, New Jersey, and had moved to Vernon.
In June 2018, Vanderee appeared to have been dealing with an addiction relapse. He wrote on Facebook, “Sorry for leaving everyone but I have to take care of some stuff. I’ll be living in New Brunswick for the time being. Won’t be back home for awhile.”
In November 2017, Vanderee wrote about the death of a friend who had also dealt with addiction. “RIP Paul…f*cking crazy man, we only knew each other for a few short months while we were both getting help, but this one hurts man . You had a good heart, and always had us laughing for one reason or another. Your struggle n battle is finally over and I pray your soul is finally at peace. Addiction is no joke… we both knew that, I just wish you wanted it as bad as I did. You’re in a better place now bud. Rest In Peace,” Vanderee wrote.
Earlier, in August 2017, he posted on Facebook, “I’ll have 100 days clean at midnight, thank you to everyone who’s supported me and who have given me hope 💯💯”
4. He Faces Decades in Prison if Convicted of the Aggravated Manslaughter & Other Charges Against Him
Vanderee faces decades in prison if convicted of the charges against him. According to New Jersey state law, the aggravated manslaughter charges each carry a potential sentence of 10 to 30 years in state prison. The death by auto charges carry a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison and the death by auto while intoxicated charges also carry a potential sentence of 10 to 30 years in prison.
Possession of a controlled dangerous substance has a possible prison sentence of up to 18 months, while possession of hypodermic needles and possession of drug paraphernalia carry up to 6 months in jail.
5. Vanderee Is Being Held Without Bail at the Passaic County Jail & Is Scheduled for His Arraignment & Detention Hearing on March 6
Jason Vanderee remains in custody at the Passaic County Jail without bail. A court appearance scheduled for Wednesday, February 20, was postponed, court officials said. He is now scheduled to appear in court on March 6 for both his arraignment and a detention hearing.
Vanderee could not be reached for comment by Heavy. It is not clear if he has hired an attorney who could speak on his behalf.