Jury Finds Paterson Man Guilty of Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Crash

Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes announces that a Passaic County jury returned guilty verdicts in the matter of State New Jersey vs. Jesus Herrera. Jury selection commenced on December 3, 2019, and the trial started on January 8.

Officials say on January 17, the jury returned guilty verdicts on one count of Knowingly Leaving the Scene of an Accident that Resulted in Death to Another (Second Degree) and one count of Endangering an Injured Victim (Third Degree).

The second-degree conviction carries a sentence of up to ten years New Jersey State Prison; the third-degree conviction carries a sentence of up to five years New Jersey State Prison. The statute provides that these two sentences must run consecutively.

This matter was presided over by the Honorable Justine A. Niccollai, J.S.C., who scheduled the sentencing of the defendant for February 28. After receiving the verdict, Judge Niccollai revoked the defendant's release status and remanded him to the Passaic County Jail pending sentence.

According to officials, the evidence presented to the jury during the trial showed that on November 11, 2017, at approximately 9:17 p.m., the defendant, operating his 1997 GMC Sierra truck, struck 48-year-old Luis Arango, who was crossing the street in front of 910 Main Street, in South Paterson.

The defendant did not stop, but instead left the scene, returning later after a civilian witness chased him down. Mr. Arango died as a result of his injuries.