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Alleged Drunk Driver Charged with Vehicular Manslaughter


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Authorities in Bergen County announced the arrest of Jose Santos, 46, of 5 Gilbert Avenue, Paramus.

Prosecutor Mark Musella said the arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief Jason Love and the Paramus Police under the direction of Chief Robert Guidetti.

According to officials, on Sunday, July 23, at approximately 12:58 a.m., the Paramus Police responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident on Farview Avenue between the intersections of Hemlock Drive and Hasse Avenue.

Officials say responding officers found a 2021 Mercedes Benz operated by Jose Santos that struck a 2015 Yamaha motorcycle driven by 28-year-old Cody Cleary of Paramus.

Cleary was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center in critical condition with serious bodily injuries, police say.

Jose Santos was believed to have been operating his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and was arrested at the scene.

Santos was charged with third-degree assault resulting in serious bodily injury while in violation of driving while intoxicated, and he was issued several motor vehicle summonses, officials stated.

According to officials, on Thursday, July 27, detectives were notified that Cody Cleary succumbed to his injuries and died in the hospital.

Authorities say Jose Santos was then charged with first-degree aggravated manslaughter, second-degree vehicular homicide, and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, officials said.

Santos was served with the additional charges and remains in the Bergen County Jail pending a detention hearing scheduled for August 2, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. in Hackensack.

Prosecutor Musella states that the charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and he would also like to thank the Paramus Police and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in this investigation.