A Camden County woman who abandoned her car on I-195 in Monmouth County, setting off a search that authorities say resulted in the death of a state trooper, was ordered held Monday on $500,000 bail.
Diana Hoffman, 30, of Blackwood, Gloucester Township, was charged with eluding police, resisting arrest, hindering apprehension, and possession of cocaine and heroin.
Monmouth County Executive Assistant Prosecutor Richard Incremona said a charge of false public alarm would be added. That charge will allege that Hoffman's actions led to the death of the trooper.
Hoffman abandoned her car Sunday morning on I-195 in Howell, authorities said.
Trooper Marc Castellano, 29, a five-year veteran of the force, was searching for her on foot about 10 a.m. when he was struck by another vehicle. Authorities have not said who hit Castellano and are continuing their investigation.
The trooper was airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, where he died hours later. Castellano, a member of the Troop C Tactical Patrol Unit, was married and had a 4-year-old daughter and a year-old son.
Hoffman was found hiding in nearby woods and told authorities that a man had been with her in the car. That claim led dozens of local and state police to launch a search that included K-9 and helicopter units. Traffic on I-195 was backed up for miles.
By late afternoon, though, the search was suspended after authorities began having doubts about Hoffman's claim.
The suspect's bail was increased Monday by Superior Court Judge Thomas Scully from $350,000 to $500,000 because of her criminal record and the likelihood of flight.
Incremona said Hoffman had evaded police a few days ago in Tuckerton, failed to appear in court three times in the past five years, and was jobless.
On Monday, the death of Castellano prompted an outpouring from law enforcement and elected officials.
Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver praised the trooper's "courageous service." Gov. Christie ordered U.S. and N.J. flags to fly at half-staff for one week, beginning Tuesday, in honor of Castellano.