A Union City man who killed a North Bergen woman in a Jersey City crash back in May of last year pleaded guilty to two of the more serious charges issued in connection to the incident, authorities said.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
On Tuesday, Jonathan Ortiz-Guananga, 27, of Union City, pled guilty to one count of second-degree death by auto and one count of fourth-degree assault by auto related to the fatal crash that occurred on May 5th, 2019 on Paterson Plank Road in Jersey City, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said in a statement.
The plea was heard before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Arre and members of the victim’s family were present in the courtroom during the plea.
The state is recommending a sentence of eight years in New Jersey state prison subject to the No Early Release Act on the death By auto charge to run consecutive to a flat 12 months in New Jersey state prison on the assault by auto charge.
On June 27th, 2019, at approximately 9:35 a.m., Ortiz-Guananga was arrested without incident by members of the Hudson County Regional Collision Investigation Unit and charged with death by auto and assault by auto.
He was also charged with violations of Title 39, or traffic violations, that include speeding, driving while intoxicated, failure to maintain a marked traffic lane and reckless driving.
Ortiz-Guananga was subsequently indicted with the upgraded charge of aggravated manslaughter, a first-degree crime which will be dismissed as a result of his plea at the time of sentencing.
Suarez credited the Hudson County Regional Collision Investigation Unit with the
investigation and arrest and the Jersey City Police Department for assisting with the
On Sunday, May 5th, 2019, at approximately 7:15 a.m., Jersey City police officers were
dispatched to Paterson Plank Road in Jersey City, just south of the Congress Street intersection, on a report of a motor vehicle collision.
Upon arrival, the responding officers discovered two vehicles were involved in a collision.
The first vehicle was a 2008 Ford Edge operated by Riano containing a 30-year-old male
passenger. The second vehicle was a 2015 Dodge Charger operated by Ortiz-Guananga.
All three individuals were transported by Emergency Medical Services to Jersey City Medical
Center. Riano was pronounced dead at approximately 3:15 p.m.
Her passenger was treated for non-life threatening injuries, while Ortiz-Guananga was treated for injuries related to severe leg trauma.
Sentencing in this case has been scheduled for October 29th before Arre.
The state is represented in this case by Assistant Prosecutor Leo Hernandez and Assistant
Prosecutor Luisa Florez of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.