North Bergen man pleads guilty to involvement in fatal car crash

Fernando Batista pleaded guilty to Death by Auto

The scene of the crash in West New York
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The scene of the crash in West New York

A North Bergen man pleaded guilty on June 30 to second-degree Death by Auto for his involvement in the June 2019 collision that caused the death of a North Bergen woman. According to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, she was a passenger in the vehicle he was driving in West New York.

The plea hearing was held virtually and was attended by family members of the victim, the Prosecutor’s Office said. Fernando Batista, 25, pleaded guilty before Judge Patrick J. Arre.

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

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

The responding officers found that two vehicles were involved, according to the HCPO.

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

The Acura held two passengers, Alysa Matos, 20, from North Bergen, and a 22-year-old male from North Bergen. The Prosecutor’s Office said 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, according to the HCPO. Henao was transported by EMS to Palisades Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries.

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

On June 23, 2019, Matos was pronounced dead at Jersey City Medical Center.

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.

Sentencing has been scheduled for August 28, 2020 before the Honorable Patrick J. Arre.

The state was represented by Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Baginski of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Unit.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.