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January 06, 2021

Burlington County couple charged in death of 72-year-old pizza delivery man

Tonya and Victor Brown, of Pemberton, struck a man who was attempting to cross the street in 2019

Crime Charges
pedestrian killed new jersey Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

A Pemberton, New Jersey couple has been charged for the killing of a pedestrian in 2019.

A South Jersey couple has been charged for a fatal driving accident involving a pedestrian in 2019, the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office announced Tuesday. 

On Dec. 27, 2019, Tonya Brown, 35, was driving with her husband Victor Brown, 44, in a Nissan Pathfinder when they allegedly struck and killed a man as he was attempting to cross the street in Pemberton, New Jersey.

The victim was 72-year-old Ronald Zukowski, a pizza delivery driver from Brown Mills, New Jersey. He was hit while attempting to cross Lakehurst Road in Pemberton.

Prosecutors said the couple sped off after hitting Zukowski, without attempting to assist him. Zukowski was then hit by a second driver who wasn't able to swerve out of the way in time. That driver remained at the scene, reported 6abc.

tonya brown driving deathCourtesy of/Burlington County Prosecutor's Office

Tonya Brown

The Browns then tried to conceal their crime by parking their vehicle at another location and covering it with a tarp, said investigators.

Paint chips taken from Zukowski's clothes were later matched to the Pathfinder, which tied the couple to the crime.

Tonya Brown was charged with Causing Death while Driving Unlicensed, Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident, and Endangering an Injured Victim. 

Both Tonya and her husband Victor, who assisted with covering up the crime, received charges of Hindering Apprehension and Tampering with Evidence.

The couple was taken into custody on Dec. 29, 2020. Tonya is being held at the Atlantic County Justice Facility in Mays Landing while Victor is being held at the Burlington County jail in Mount Holly.

victor brown driving deathCourtesy of/Burlington County Prosecutor's Office

Victor Brown

A detention hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at the Superior Court in Mount Holly.

Zukowski, a delivery driver for Brown Mills restaurant Riccardo's Italian Restaurant, was remembered after his death in a Facebook post by restaurant owner Vito Russo.

"Ronnie was not only Riccardo's Pizza delivery driver, but a friend of mine of 26 years. Some of you may remember Ronnie delivering food to your house," said Russo in the Facebook post. "Ronnie started working with me at Riccardo's when I was 23 years old in 1994. Ronnie was a friend, confidante, & manager for all Riccardo's Pizza Delivery Drivers. He worked hard every day & he enjoyed his job. He wasn't just a pizza delivery driver but a friend, Father & Devoted husband."

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