An SUV jumped a curb and fatally struck a nurse waiting at a bus stop outside Palisades Medical Center on River Road in North Bergen on the early morning of Tuesday, Sept. 26. Officials identified the victim as 59-year-old Luisa Valdes, who is from Union City but lived in Bayonne.
Valdes worked at the Harborage Care Center nursing home inside the Medical Center, according to a press release. Officials declared her dead at the scene at 7 a.m., a half hour after she was struck. No other injuries were reported in the incident.
Valdes, who was born in Spain, was the devoted mother of three, according to her obituary.
A Hyundai Santa Fe struck Valdes, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. The suspected driver, Olvy R. Torres, 36, from New York City, allegedly fled the scene on foot without attempting to assist the victim. Officials said the car did not belong to him, but was not stolen.
A warrant was later issued for Torres’ arrest on charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident resulting in death.
Torres turned himself in on Monday, October 2, after feeling pressure from the public and media outlets, according North Bergen police.
The North Bergen Police Department, Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor jointly conducted the investigation. The Secaucus Police Department, the Maywood Police Department’s K-9 Unit, and the New York Police Department also assisted, as law enforcement officials told the press that they believed Torres had gone to New York City.
According to various media reports, Valdes was a mother to three children, and also a grandmother. News reports said she had moved to Bayonne after growing up in Union City.
At the accident site, people left flowers, cards, and balloons.
“Luisa Valdes was a dedicated and valued member of The Harborage Family and loved by our team members, residents, families and patients alike,” said Gary Mignone, Hackensack’s director of communications, in an email. “She was with The Harborage for 27 years. She will deeply missed by all of us.”
Recently, North Bergen installed a traffic light at 77th Street and River Road, a block from the bus stop at 7600 River Road.
The light was installed to improve safety for traffic entering and exiting River Road, according to the township of North Bergen.
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