Prosecutor: North Bergen man pleads guilty to fatal West New York crash that killed 20-year-old

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A North Bergen man pleaded guilty to a fatal West New York crash that killed a 20-year-old woman, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced.

Fernando Batista. Photo courtesy of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Fernando Batista, 25, pleaded guilty today to second-degree death by auto for his involvement in the June 2019 collision that caused the death of a North Bergen woman who was a passenger in the vehicle he was driving in West New York, Suarez said in a statement.

He pleaded guilty during a virtual plea healing, which was attended by family members of the victim, before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Patrick Arre.

The state is recommending a sentence of five years in New Jersey state prison subject to the No Early Release Act. Additionally, Batista’s driver’s license will be suspended for a period between five years and life pursuant.

On Tuesday, June 18th, 2019, shortly after 12:30 a.m., West New York police officers responded to the intersection of 60th Street and Jefferson Street on a report of a motor vehicle collision.

Upon arrival, the responding officers found that two vehicles were involved in a collision.

The first vehicle, a 2002 Acura TL, was operated by Batista. He was transported by Emergency Medical Services to Palisades Medical Center where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The Acura contained two passengers, Alysa Matos, 20, from North Bergen, and a 22-year-old male from North Bergen. Both passengers were transported by EMS to Jersey City Medical Center.

The second vehicle was a 2004 Infiniti G35 operated by Richard Henao, 26, of West New
York. Henao was transported by EMS to Palisades Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries.

The Infiniti contained a single passenger, a 26-year-old male from Clifton, who
sustained bodily injuries but refused medical treatment at the scene of the collision.

On Sunday, June 23rd, 2019, Matos was pronounced dead at Jersey City Medical Center. The Regional Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death to be blunt impact injuries of the head.

The investigation by the Regional Collision Investigation Unit determined that the Acura, driven by Batista, was traveling west on 60th Street and failed to observe the red traffic signal when it collided with the Infiniti as it traveled north on Jefferson Street.

It was also determined by the New Jersey State Police forensic laboratory that Batista had THC/Marijuana in his system at the time of the collision.

Sentencing in this case has been scheduled for August 28th before Arre.

The state is represented in this case by Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Baginski of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Unit.