A 26-year-old New Jersey man has been charged with first-degree murder in the hit-and-run death of a young woman who was trying to end their year-long relationship, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Charles Ann, of Fort Lee, is accused of intentionally driving over 25-year-old Aena Hong Monday evening. Prosecutors say he is believed to have run over the Fort Lee woman with his car three times.
Officers were originally called to Anderson Avenue and Inwood Terrace at about 5:20 p.m. for a report of a pedestrian struck, but were investigating witness reports that the incident appeared to be a targeted attack.
The Bergen County prosecutor's office says witnesses described Hong walking while arguing with the driver, later identified as Ann.
Witnesses saw him appear to drive away after the confrontation, then turn around and rapidly accelerate his vehicle, plowing into Hong as she crossed the street, authorities said.
Prosecutors say Ann then put the car in reverse, backed up over Hong and drove over her again. Hong was hit so hard the impact knocked her shoes off.
Ann and Hong had been involved in a tumultuous relationship for about a year that Hong had recently been trying to end, prosecutors said.
A 2011 Hyundai Sonata registered to Ann was found abandoned about a mile away from the scene of the incident. Investigators determined it to be the vehicle that killed Hong.
Authorities say Ann fled to Flushing, Queens, after the hit-and-run. Investigators found him at a friend's apartment at about 4 a.m. Tuesday -- nearly 12 hours after the incident -- and placed him in custody.
Authorities say he was traveling with his passport and a large amount of cash at the time of his arrest.
Ann is being held on $3 million bail in Queens Criminal Court pending an extradition hearing.
Ann is a native Korean who came to the United States in 2009. Prosecutors say he still has family ties to the country, though he is a naturalized United States citizen.
Witnesses described the hit-and-run as horrific.
"I haven't seen anything like that since I was overseas in combat," said Gene Hoffman, a bank manager who works in the area and saw the victim after she was hit.