Driver Charged With Murder in Fatal I-95 Crash

A New Jersey man was charged today with third-degree murder for an early-morning crash that killed a passenger in his car on Interstate 95 in Bristol Township.

Arthur A. Lewis, 23, of the 100 block of Lalor Avenue in Trenton, was also  charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence in the death of Javairia M. Mahmood, 22, of the 200 block of Home Avenue in Trenton.

Ms. Mahmood was a passenger in the front seat of the Acura sedan allegedly driven by Lewis when it struck a guardrail and concrete barrier before flipping onto its roof on the highway. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two passengers in the rear seat of the vehicle, identified as Malik Wade, 19, and T. Gaither, 16, also sustained injuries. Wade was transported to Aria – Jefferson Health, Torresdale Campus and Gaither was taken to St. Mary Medical Center.

Suspected illegal drugs were found in and near the vehicle, as well as in a pocket of Lewis’ jacket, according to a probable cause affidavit.

At the time of the crash, Lewis was fleeing state police troopers who had tried to pull the Acura over, the affidavit said.

Two state police troopers reported seeing the Acura traveling north at a high speed near the Academy Road exit in Philadelphia at 12:36 a.m. They caught up to the vehicle near Woodhaven Road and followed it for three-tenths of a mile, clocking its speed at 94 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone, the affidavit said.

The troopers activated their emergency lights and siren near the Street Road exit. The Acura pulled onto the right shoulder and slowed without stopping before racing off again at more than 100 miles per hour, the affidavit said.

As troopers followed the car at a distance, they saw that its headlights and taillights were turned off as it passed several other vehicles.

Near the Bristol exit, the troopers saw a cloud of smoke and the overturned wreckage of the Acura.

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. Three bundles of suspected heroin also were found in a pocket of Lewis’ jacket when it was cut off of him by EMS workers, the affidavit said.

Lewis’ demeanor was described by police as slow and lethargic, and his eyes were bloodshot, the affidavit said, but he refused to submit to a chemical test of his blood.

He was admitted to St. Mary Medical Center, where he was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Joseph Falcone, who ordered him held without bail. He is being guarded at the hospital by state police until he can be moved to the Bucks County Correctional Facility.

The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Robert D. James, Chief of the Homicide by Vehicle Division.

Contact: Robert D. James, 215.348.6332, rdjames@buckscounty.org

Approved for release by Marc J. Furber, Deputy District Attorney.