New Brunswick Fire Director Robert Rawls pleads guilty in pedestrian accident that injured three juveniles

Robert Rawls faced a judge Tuesday on the

Robert Rawls faced a judge Tuesday on the charges connected to the accident that seriously injured two 14-year-old girls and a 7-year-old boy. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

SOUTH BRUNSWICK - New Brunswick's fire director pleaded guilty Tuesday to careless driving for hitting three young pedestrians last May.

Robert Rawls faced a judge Tuesday on the charges connected to the accident that seriously injured two teen girls and a 6-year-old boy.

Rawls will pay a fine of $206.

Jocelyn Pelaez, 15, says things most teens take for granted are now difficult for her, and she wanted the judge to know that at today's hearing. "I have metal rods and a tube and sometimes I get tired easily," she says. "Don't have a normal life anymore like I used to."

Pelaez's friend Arly Melquiadez and Arly's brother John were also injured.

Rawls was driving a city-issued truck down Livingston Avenue when he hit the three kids in a crosswalk on their way home from school.  After being investigated by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, no criminal charges were filed. 

The case was moved to South Brunswick Municipal Court, where Judge Michael Dowgin accepted the guilty plea. He said while he has sympathy for the victims, the fine is the maximum he can hand down for a careless driving charge.

The victims' families plan to sue in civil court to help recoup medical expenses.

The city of New Brunswick has been making changes to Livingston Avenue, near where the accident happened.

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