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South Passaic Daily Voice serves Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Totowa, Wayne & Woodland Park

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WHO IS HE? Unidentified Man Struck, Killed on Route 3

Crime scene
Crime scene Photo Credit: David von Diemar on Unsplash.com

UPDATE: A Moonachie man who was charged with the Route 3 hit and run death of a pedestrian from Paterson remained free pending further court action, authorities confirmed.

A judge in Paterson ordered Bryan Meza-Roca, 26, to surrender his driver’s license and remain monitored while the case against him proceeds.

He was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal crash and endangering an injured victim

Meza-Roca turned himself in to Clifton police last Friday, five days after investigators said he struck Mustafa Hemaid, 33, with his 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe on the eastbound highway outside Clifton Commons.

Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes, whose office is leading the investigation, hasn’t said what authorities believe Hemaid was doing on the highway, nor what time they suspect that he was struck.

A caller who reported seeing “mannequin parts” brought police, who found the body along the shoulder near the median – as well as parts of the Santa Fe, including the driver’s side mirror – shortly after 8 a.m. last Sunday.

"It's unusual, to say the least," a veteran investigator told Daily Voice later that day. "At no point did anyone report seeing a body. Apparently, no one realized what it was."

It wasn’t clear whether investigators had identified Meza-Roca as the driver when he surrendered on Friday. The next day, a Central Judicial Processing Court judge in Paterson freed him pending further court action.

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ORIGINAL STORY (UPDATE): Authorities turned to the public for help identifying a man who they confirmed Monday was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on Route 3 over the weekend.

Police found the body on the eastbound highway outside Clifton Commons shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Clifton Police Chief Thomas Rinaldi said in an officials statement.

The officers were responding to calls of debris in the roadway, law enforcement sources said.

"It's unusual, to say the least," one said. "At no point did anyone report seeing a body. Apparently, no one realized what it was."

Once police arrived and traffic slowed considerably, it became clearer to passing motorists.

An investigation that has so included an autopsy determined that the victim was struck.

What wasn't clear was how long the body was there.

The victim also has yet to be identified, authorities said,

Valdes asked that anyone who witnessed the crash or has information that can help the vehicle or driver contact her tips line at 1-877-370-PCPO or tips@passaiccountynj.org.

Or contact the Clifton Police Department Traffic Division at 973-470-5908.  

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