Police Charge Florida Man with Fatal Hit-and-Run in Bergen County

Fort Lee, N.J.- The New Jersey State Police have arrested Joel Lasanta, 37, of Kissimmee, FL, in connection to a fatal hit-and-run accident on the New Jersey Turnpike that killed Jada Smith, 21, of Teaneck, N.J.

Acorodnf to State Police officials, on June 4, at approximately 10:25 p.m., troopers from Troop "D" Newark Station responded to the report of a hit-and-run crash southbound in the express lanes at milepost 121.5 in Fort Lee, Bergen County.

Officials said when troopers arrived, they discovered Smith sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash.

Medical professionals pronounced her dead at the scene at 10:54 p.m.

During the on-going investigation, detectives determined that Smith was driving a Honda CRV south on the New Jersey Turnpike.

In the area of milepost 121.5, she was involved in a motor vehicle crash and became disabled in the right lane.

Police say Smith exited her vehicle and was struck by a tractor-trailer, which fled the scene.

As a result of the investigation, detectives identified the tractor-trailer and Lasanta as the driver at the time of the accident.

Officials say on Saturday, June 6, troopers located and arrested Lasanta without incident at the Clara Barton Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Joel Lasanta was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with fatal injuries and hindering apprehension.

He was lodged at the Bergen County Jail, pending a detention hearing.

Charges are mere accusations, and the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.