Gustavo Palomo, 39, had been drinking when he struck the back of a vehicle driven by Jaleel McCauley, who was stopped at a red light on the exit ramp of Route 280 and First Street last March 17, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II said.
Palomo fled the scene in a white pick-up truck but was apprehended shortly after, authorities said. An investigation found he had been speeding and under the influence of alcohol at the time of the 6:40 p.m. crash, Assistant Prosecutor Brian Pollock said.
McCauley sustained serious injuries as a result of the crash and died on March 23.
Palomo pled guilty to vehicular homicide last December. He must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he's eligible for parole.
"Defendant's decision to drive after drinking prematurely ended the very promising life of a vibrant and altruistic 19-year-old man and caused unfathomable pain to those that loved him," Pollock said.
"If the deterrent effect of defendant’s long prison term spares just one family the same pain suffered by Jaleel McCauley’s family, then it will be justified."
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