Skip to main content

Authorities Charge Man with Crash that Killed Jersey City Cop

By rlsmetro on
Jersey City

Hudson County Prosecutor Suarez said the driver involved in a crash that killed off-duty Jersey City Police Officer Morton Otundo on July 16, 2021, has been charged with one count of Causing Death While Driving Unlicensed, in violation of 2C:40-22a, a crime of the third degree.

According to Prosecutor Suarez, Mr. Rafael Rodriguez-Rivera, 30, of Jersey City, surrendered to detectives with the Hudson County Regional Collision Investigation Unit in Jersey City at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, January 10.

He was released on a summons and is scheduled to appear in court on February 8.

Prosecutor Suarez said shortly before 2:00 a.m., members of the Jersey City Police Department responded to the intersection of Communipaw Avenue and Woodward Street on a report of a motor vehicle collision with injuries.

Upon arrival, responding officers found a motorcyclist with serious injuries.

The operator of the motorcycle, later identified as Mr. Morton Otundo, 40, of Jersey City, was treated at the scene before being transported by Emergency Medical Services to Jersey City Medical Center.

He was pronounced dead at approximately 2:30 a.m., Prosecutor Suarez said. 

The initial investigation revealed that Otundo was operating a Yamaha motorcycle and was traveling east on Communipaw Avenue when he collided with a 2012 Ford Escape, operated by Rodriguez-Rivera, as the vehicle was traveling west and attempting to make a left turn onto Woodward Street.

Prosecutor Suarez said the investigation found that Rodriguez-Rivera did not have a valid New Jersey driver’s license.

The above charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.