Drunk Driver Pleads Guilty In Rear-End Newark Crash That Killed Teen

A 39-year-old Newark man pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide for killing another motorist earlier this year, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said Monday. 

Gustavo Palomo
Gustavo Palomo Photo Credit: Essex County Prosecutor's Office

Gustavo Palomo was under the influence of alcohol March 17 when he slammed his pickup truck at a high rate of speed into the back of a vehicle that was stopped for a red light at First Street and the I-280 exit ramp. Palomo left the scene but was quickly caught. 

Jaleel McCauley, 19, suffered serious injuries in the crash. He died March 23. 

Under the terms of his plea, Palomo is expected to be sentenced to 10 years in prison and will be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence before earning parole eligibility. His sentencing is scheduled for March 2. 

"By choosing to drink and drive, this defendant ended the very promising life of an accomplished 19-year-old man. Hopefully, defendant’s long prison sentence will help demonstrate to society that the needless loss of life caused by this truly preventable criminal act will not be tolerated,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Brian Pollock.

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