Jurors told Superior Court Judge William Forrester they were hopelessly deadlocked. Another jury deadlocked in the case last August.
Kenneth Powell was charged with vehicular homicide and aggravated assault after the July 2000 crash that killed Michael Pangle, his best friend. Pangle was driving a car that drifted across the center line and collided head-on with another vehicle, killing the driver.
The crash occurred less than an hour after Pangle was released following a DUI arrest. Powell had picked Pangle up after his arrest and taken him back to his vehicle instead of taking him home.
Defense lawyers and officials of Mothers Against Drunk Driving have said they believe it was the first time someone with no direct involvement in a drunken-driving accident had been charged for not stopping the driver involved.
Prosecutor Michael Ostroski said no decision had been made yet whether to try Powell a third time. Powell's lawyer, Carl Roeder, said the state should instead spend resources beefing up DUI laws.
The accident led New Jersey to give police the power to impound a drunken driver's vehicle for up to 12 hours after an arrest.