Prosecutor: Jersey City man was drunk, speeding before crash that killed firefighter


A Jersey City man has been charged with death by auto and driving while intoxicated stemming from a fatal car crash that took the life of a local firefighter last month, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced.

Stephen Zadroga. Photo courtesy of the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office.
Stephen Zadroga. Photo courtesy of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Stephen Zadroga, 27, of Jersey City, was charged with death by auto, three counts of assault by auto, causing death or injury while driving unlicensed or suspended and three counts of causing death or injury while driving unlicensed or suspended, Suarez said in a statement.

Under Title 39, Zadroga was also charged with driving while suspended, driving while intoxicated, failure to maintain a marked traffic lane, reckless driving and speeding, authorities said.

Zadroga surrendered to detectives from the prosecutor’s office yesterday.

The other driver involved in the incident, Steven Carvache, 40, of Jersey City, was also charged with driving while intoxicated and speeding, police said.

On November 16 at approximately 2:10 a.m., Jersey City police were dispatched
to Paterson Plank Road in Jersey City on a report of a motor vehicle crash.

Upon arrival, responding officers discovered two vehicles were involved with the crash. The first vehicle was a 2006 Acura TL registered to Carvache and the second was a 2013 Mazda MZ6 registered to Zadroga, officials said.

The initial investigation determined that Carvache was driving his Acura southbound on Paterson Plank Road and Zadroga was driving his Mazda northbound on Paterson Plank Road when they collided in the southbound lane of traffic, authorities said.

Carvache also had one female passenger who was seated in the front seat of his vehicle. They were both transported by Emergency Medical Services to Christ Hospital in Jersey City where they were treated for their injuries, police said.

Zadroga had a female passenger in the front seat of his vehicle and a male passenger, firefighter Matthew Nierstedt, seated in the rear seat of his vehicle. The female passenger was transported by EMS to Hoboken University Medical Center and Zadroga was transported privately to Jersey City Medical Center, officials said.

Additionally, Nierstedt was transported by EMS to JCMC and was pronounced dead at approximately 3 a.m., authorities said.

The Homicide Unit of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office is actively investigating this

Anyone with information is asked to call 201-915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip on their official website at:

All information will be kept confidential.

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