The driver of a car that collided with another vehicle driven by an Ocean County detective is pleading not guilty to charges in Southampton Municipal Court on Wednesday, according to court officials.
Rachel Portnoy, of Marlton, is scheduled to appear in Municipal Court on motor vehicle charges stemming from a head-on collision with Tina Rambo, 35, a detective with the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, who died in the crash.
Portnoy, who was 24 at the time of the crash, is pleading not guilty to overtaking and passing vehicles; failure to obey regulations in marked lanes; reckless driving and driving an unregistered vehicle, according to Terry Bodine, Southampton Municipal Court administrator.
Portnoy is represented by attorney Dennis Wixted.
is one of many law enforcement officers memorialized in ceremonies for fallen officers, including and one today in Ocean Grove.
She was living with Roy Rambo, her husband, and two small sons in Marlton at the time of the incident, but had lived in Toms River and graduated from high school there. Her boys were 3 and 6 years old when they lost their mother.
The head-on collision had originally been investigated by state police, because the crash occurred on Route 70, a state highway, in Southampton.
That office later referred the matter to the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office, which found no basis to file any criminal charges, according to Joel Bewley, its public information officer.
He said there was no evidence that Portnoy was impaired and there appeared to be no other basis for any criminal charges, so the county closed its investigation and referred motor vehicle charges to the municipal court in Southampton.
"The motor vehicle charges were put on hold pending our investigation," said Bewley. "Now municipal court can pursue those charges."
Rambo was a 2000 graduate from the Ocean County Police Academy and also previously served as a part-time special police officer in Point Pleasant Beach during the summers of 1999 and 2000 when she used "Liston," her maiden name.
Point Pleasant Beach Detective Clint Daniel, just after hearing news of her death last August, said that Rambo was much loved and highly respected by her colleagues.
"She was a fantastic person," he said. "She was well-liked by the other officers when she was here and then when she was a detective with the county. It's a tragic loss."
State police said at the time that Rambo was driving her assigned 2000 blue Ford Crown Victoria alone on Route 70 when her car collided with another car at milemarker 21 at 8 a.m.
Rambo was driving eastbound and Portnoy was originally driving westbound in a 2004 silver Saturn Ion. However, Portnoy's car then moved into the eastbound lane and the two cars crashed, said state police in a prepared statement released after the incident.
Portnoy was transported by a Medevac helicopter to Cooper University Medical Center, Camden, with serious leg injuries, the statement said.
"Rambo was declared deceased at the accident scene," according to the statement.
At the time, the Ocean County Prosecutor's office said Rambo was a valued member of their detective force.