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Unlicensed Driver Pleads Guilty In 108 MPH DWI Crash That Killed Paterson Teen

Lawan A. Henry
Lawan A. Henry Photo Credit: PASSAIC COUNTY PROSECUTOR

An unlicensed driver involved in a high-speed DWI crash in Paterson that killed an 17-year-old passenger pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide rather than face trial, authorities said.

Lawan A. Henry, 23, of Paterson will be eligible for parole in a little over 7½ years under a plea bargain reached with prosecutors.

Henry admitted Monday in Superior Court in Paterson that he was driving 108 miles an hour when his 2008 Cadillac CTS slammed into several unoccupied vehicles on Broadway between East 30th and East 29th streets shortly before 4 a.m. last Nov. 15, they said.

In the sedan with Henry were three passengers, including city resident Xavier Ortiz, who was pronounced dead at the scene a little more than a half-hour later.

The other two passengers were brought to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson with serious injuries, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said.

Henry, who bailed out and ran before police arrested him hours later, pleaded guilty on Monday to death by auto, as well as assault by auto and driving without a license causing death, the prosecutor said.

In exchange, she said, he’ll get a nine-year state prison term – 85% of which Henry must serve under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act – along with three years of parole supervision when he’s sentenced on Sept. 22.

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ALSO SEE: GOTCHA! Citizen Helps Nab Hit-Run Driver Who Struck Palisades Park Pedestrian, Police Say

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