A former Hudson County corrections officer has pleaded guilty to a 2017 death by auto incident that claimed the lives of two well-known members of the local Republican party, Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Michael Hansen, 40, of North Bergen, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree death by auto related to the deaths of Russell Maffei and Marie Tauro, who were killed in a fatal collision in North Bergen that occurred on April 2, 2017, Suarez said in a statement.
Hansen, who was a Hudson County corrections officer at the time of the collision, admitted to recklessly causing the death of the victims while being intoxicated and within 1,000 feet of a school zone.
The North Bergen admitted that he had been drinking alcohol prior to the collision.
On April 2, 2017, shortly after 8:00 p.m., North Bergen police officers responding to a report of a pedestrian struck, found Maffei and Tauro, both Jersey City residents, lying near the intersection of Paterson Plank Road and John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
They were pronounced dead later that evening.
Members of the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office and the North Bergen Police Department
arrested Hansen shortly before 4:00 a.m. the following day.
He was initially charged with leaving the scene of the accident that resulted in death, but those charges were upgraded to death by auto a short time later.
Furthermore, Hansen was indicted by a Hudson County grand jury in October 2017.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Hansen is expected to face 20 years in state prison years for the death of each victim, to be served consecutively.
Under the No Early Release Act, Hansen would be required to serve 85 percent of the 20 year sentence before he is eligible for parole.
He would also have 10 years of parole supervision after he is released from state prison.
Sentencing in this case has been scheduled for August 2, 2019, before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Patrick Arre who accepted the guilty plea.
The state is represented by Assistant Prosecutor Lynne Seborowski of the Hudson County
Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Unit.