Jersey City mourning the loss of Police Officer Morton Otundo, HCPO probing motorcycle accident

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Jersey City is mourning the loss of Police Officer Morton Otundo, who died in a motorcycle accident that is being investigated by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

Late Jersey City Police Officer Morton Otundo. Photo courtesy of the City of Jersey City.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

This morning 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, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said in a statement.

Upon arrival, responding officers found a motorcyclist with serious injuries. The operator of the motorcycle, later identified as Otundo, 40, of Jersey City, was treated at the scene before being transported by Emergency Medical Services to Jersey City Medical Center.

Otundo, who was off-duty at the time, was pronounced dead at approximately 2:30 a.m. The cause and manner of death are pending an investigation by the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.

The driver of the automobile, a 30-year-old Jersey City resident, was also transported by EMS to JCMC for evaluation.

The initial investigation by the Hudson County Regional Collision Investigation Unit and the
Jersey City Police Department revealed that the Yamaha motorcycle operated by Otundo was traveling east on Communipaw Avenue when it collided with a Ford Escape traveling west on Communipaw Avenue while the Ford Escape was making a left turn onto Woodward Street.

The events surrounding the crash remain under investigation by the Hudson County Regional Collision Investigation Unit with assistance from the Jersey City Police Department. No charges have been filed at this time.

Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association President Joe Cossolini told HCV that Morton’s passing is a huge loss for both the department and the community.

“The untimely death of Morton is truly a loss to the department and the community alike. He was an incredible human being with a magnetic personality. Words will never fully describe the impact he had on every life he touched.”

Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera also remarked on the department’s loss of Morton.

“Life, unfortunately, means there has to be death. It is inevitable, and as much as we hate losing those special people from our lives, we have to come to terms with it,” Rivera wrote on Facebook.

“To the Otundo Family, I’m Sending my deepest and most heartfelt condolences for your tragic loss. Deepest sympathy🙏🏽”

Tributes have been flooding social media this morning, including Lincoln High School Principal Chris Gadsden, a former Ward B councilman and at-large council candidate.

“Condolences and prayers of comfort to the family of Morton Otundo. Prayers of strength to the Jersey City Police Department as we mourn the loss of a servant and brother,” he wrote on Facebook.

Mayor Steven Fulop said that Otundo “leaves behind a lasting legacy” since he has two younger brothers on the force.

“This is a great loss to the JCPD and the entire Jersey City community. Officer Otundo leaves behind a lasting legacy throughout the entire police department through his two younger brothers, who are also on the force, as well as the many officers with whom he took the time to mentor, sharing his knowledge to help provide guidance and ultimately strengthen the department overall. We send our deepest condolences to Officer Otundo’s family.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office at 201-915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip on the Hudson County Prosecutor’s official website at http://www.hudsoncountyprosecutorsofficenj.org/homicide-tip/.

All information will be kept confidential.

 

Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information.