N.J. man charged with third-degree murder in fatal I-95 crash

Javairia Mahmood-21042017-0003
Javairia Mahmood, 22, of Trenton, was a passenger who was killed in a one-vehicle crash on I-95 in Bucks County on Friday, April 21, 2017.

A New Jersey man who was accused of driving recklessly, at high speed and under the influence when his car crashed on Interstate 95 in Bucks County early Friday morning, was charged with third-degree murder and related offenses.

Camera icon  Arthur A. Lewis 

The crash killed one of his passengers, Javairia Mahmood, 22, of Trenton, and injured two others.

Arthur A. Lewis, 23, of Trenton, was also charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence.

The Bucks County District Attorney's Office said that about 12:35 a.m. Friday,  two Pennsylvania State Police troopers spotted Lewis driving an Acura sedan at high speed north on I-95, near the Academy Road exit in Philadelphia.

When the troopers tried to pull over the car, the driver tried to flee, at one point speeding to more than 100 mph, authorities said.

Near the Bristol exit, the troopers saw a cloud of smoke and the overturned wreckage of the Acura after it struck a guardrail and concrete barrier on the right shoulder of the highway, finally flipping upside down, authorities said.

Mahmood, the front-seat passenger, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two backseat passengers, 19-year-old Malik Wade and a 16-year-old, also sustained injuries. Wade was transported to Aria Health-Torresdale Campus and the juvenile was taken to St. Mary Medical Center. Their conditions were not released. Lewis also faces two counts of aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence in relation to their injuries.

The troopers found a bag of suspected marijuana on the ground outside the car and a bag of suspected cocaine inside the vehicle, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Three bundles of suspected heroin were also found in Lewis’ jacket pocket, authorities said.

Lewis, whose eyes appeared bloodshot, was admitted to St. Mary Medical Center, where he was arraigned on his charges. He is being guarded at the hospital by state police until he can be moved to the Bucks County Correctional Facility.

One of Mahmood's sisters, Misbah Mahmood, 29, said by phone Friday: "We're just grieving right now. It's a shame she died so young."

Her sister "was trying to turn her life around and was applying to college," she said.

She said her family didn't know Lewis and figured he must have been a friend. "I'm just really disappointed in how he drove," she said. "I wish he were a more responsible person."