A passenger from North Bergen was killed and a West New York driver charged with death by auto in a suspected drunk-driving crash overnight Wednesday at the Fairview/North Bergen border, authorities said.
Jose Francisco-Garcia, a 26-year-old surveillance system installer, was charged with vehicular homicide int he death of 40-year-old front-seat passenger Jose Santos of North Bergen, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella announced Wednesday afternoon.
A 2017 Honda Civic Type R driven by Francisco-Garcia struck a utility pole on southbound Broad Avenue (Route 9) across from the entrance to Fairview Cemetery shortly before 1:30 a.m., Musella said.
Santos was killed instantly when the car hit the pole head-on flush on the passenger side, responders said.
"The console, everything was in the back of the car," one said. "You could walk into the engine compartment."
Francisco-Garcia was hospitalized in stable condition after climbing out of the wreck, authorities said.
Besides death by auto, he was charged with reckless driving and failing to maintain a lane. Additional charges of possible DWI were pending the results of toxicology tests.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, authorities released Francisco-Garcia pending a court appearance this coming Monday instead of sending him to the Bergen County Jail.
Musella's Fatal Accident Investigations Unit responded along with Fairview and North Bergen police, Fairview firefighters and the state Department of Transportation.
Because the vehicle crashed on the bridge, both sides of the highway were closed for nearly eight hours between 91st Street in North Bergen and Fairview Avenue in Fairview.
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