One year later, West Milford fatal hit-and-run remains unsolved

Police, victim’s family urge anyone with information to come forward


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  • Kelly Vaughn Chalkley photo provided



BY ERIKA NORTON

One year after Kelly Vaughn Chalkley was tragically killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking her dog, West Milford police and Chalkley’s family are still searching for answers.

Chalkley, 58, was walking her family’s St. Bernard, Misty, in the Mount Laurel Park parking lot in Hewitt on Nov. 7, 2016, when she was struck and killed by a vehicle. The driver fled the scene.

Police say video footage of the Mount Laurel parking lot shows that three different vehicles were in the parking lot at or shortly after the time that Chalkley was struck. The three vehicles — a pick-up truck and two smaller vehicles — were not in the parking lot at the same time, but each entered the parking lot from Tyler Place and exited onto Warwick Turnpike between 7:14 and 7:40 p.m., police said.

Police also believe the person responsible has knowledge of the area and may be a local resident, but there have been no arrests in the case.

Chalkley’s husband Garey discovered his wife’s body in the parking lot, which is near their Tyler Place home in the Upper Greenwood Lake section, according to an online fundraising page set up for the family. He went searching for her after their dog came home alone that night without her and she didn’t answer her cell phone.

Since Chalkley's death, one of her daughters has given birth to a girl, Emmerson, according to a Facebook post from West Milford police Tuesday.

“Unfortunately Kelly was not given the opportunity to enjoy being a grandmother once again,” the post said. She had two other grandchildren, Brayden and Brycen.

“It is the family's most sincerest hopes that ANYONE with INFORMATION or STRONG SUSPICIONS to come forward and contact the West Milford Police Department at 973-728-2810 with any leads, tips or information,” the post continued.

The family is offering a $20,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the involved person or persons.

Kelly Vaughn ChalkleyChalkley was born in Elizabeth and raised in South Plainfield, according to her obituary. Her and her husband Garey moved to West Milford in 1986 where they raised their family.

She worked for more than 20 years as a catering director with Sodexo at Ramapo College in Mahwah. She had three daughters, Gina Konz, Gemma Saum and Jamie Chalkley.

“We cannot begin to heal as a family until we have the answers we so desperately need,” the family said in December.

“To the driver involved in this accident, we are pleading for you to come forward and rid yourself of the tremendous guilt we imagine you are bearing,” the statement continued. “We assure you the weight on your shoulders will be lifted once you free yourself from the burden you have been carrying.

“You are also jeopardizing anyone else who may know about this accident and any cover up that may be occurring."

Anyone with information about the accident is urged to contact the West Milford Police Department at 973-728-2800 or the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office at 877-370-7276.

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