Driver, 20, Charged In Wrong-Way Route 20 Paterson Crash That Killed Passenger, 22

UPDATE: A 20-year-old wrong-way driver was charged in a head-on predawn crash on Route 20 in Paterson that killed his 22-year-old passenger.

INSET: Dwayne Smalls
INSET: Dwayne Smalls Photo Credit: ABC7 Eyewitness News / INSET: Passaic County Prosecutor

City resident Dwayne Smalls was driving a 2019 Kia Forte north in the southbound lanes of the highway when it collided with a 2016 Honda Accord driven by a 63-year-old Fair Lawn man at 17th Avenue shortly before 5 a.m. Feb. 24, authorities said.

The Accord was then struck by a 2010 Ford Escape driven by a Hawthorne woman, they said.

Critically injured in the crash was Marquise Samuels, also of Paterson, who died three days later at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.

Smalls, Samuels and the Accord driver all had to be extricated in what some responders called the worst crash they’d ever seen.

They were taken to St. Joe’s along with the 57-year-old Hawthorne driver, who reportedly sustained minor injuries.

Detectives arrested Smalls on Tuesday and charged him with death by auto and two counts of assault by auto, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Paterson Police Chief Ibrahim Baycora said in a joint statement.

He was expected to remain free after a first appearance scheduled for Wednesday in Central Judicial Processing Court in Paterson.

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