A Virginia man driving through Princeton on the night of Sept. 15 thought he hit a deer in the roadway on Mercer Street near Hale Drive. He called police to report that he had struck the deer, not realizing he had hit and killed a 69-year-old woman from China who was visiting her daughter.
Xufeng Huang had been visiting Princeton for a few days. An enthusiastic photographer, she liked to take pictures on walks. She went out for a walk on Sept. 15 but did not return, and her family reported that she was missing just before 11 p.m. Relatives and friends distributed posters and sent out alerts on social media looking for her. On the morning of Sept. 17, a resident reported seeing a body in a grassy area just off Mercer Street, about 10 feet from the roadway. Investigators determined at the time that Huang was likely struck by a vehicle.
A search of all motor vehicle crashes reported on the night she disappeared revealed that a 44-year-old male motorist from Arlington, Va. contacted the Princeton Police Department at 8:09 p.m. on Sept. 15 and reported that he was involved in a collision with a deer on Mercer Street in the area of Gallup Road, police said today. The driver was operating a 2007 black Mercedes Benz. He went back to the scene with an officer but no deer was found.
It was only after investigators made the connection that the case was solved. They went to driver’s home to interview him and collect evidence that was then submitted to the New Jersey State Police laboratory for forensic testing. The test results were recently returned and it was determined that the vehicle did hit Huang.
Investigators from the Princeton Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutors Office found no criminal conduct or recklessness on the part of the driver, police said. The investigation revealed that Huang was standing in the roadway when the crash occurred. Police said no criminal or motor vehicle charges will be filed against the driver. The name of the driver is not being released because he was not charged with any offenses related to the crash, police said.