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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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Driver Admits Guilt In Drugged Crash That Killed North Bergen Woman, 20

Alysa Matos
Alysa Matos Photo Credit: Riotto Funeral Home

A North Bergen man admitted that he had THC in his system when he ran a red light in West New York and crashed his car into another, killing a 20-year-old passenger.

Fernando Batista, 25, pleaded guilty to death by auto in exchange for what will be a five-year prison sentence during a virtual hearing Monday attended by family members of the victim, Alysa Matos, also of North Bergen, authorities said.

Batista was driving a 2002 Acura TL west on 60th Street when he blew the light at Jefferson Street shortly after 12:30 a.m. on June 18, 2019, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said.

The Acura collided with an 2004 Infiniti G35 headed north on Jefferson, she said.

Batista had two passengers – Matos and a 22-year-old North Bergen man. Both of them were taken to Jersey City Medical Center, Suarez said.

Batista, meanwhile, was taken to Palisades Medical Center, she said.

The 36-year-old West New York driver of the Infiniti was also taken Palisades Medical Center. His 26-year-old passenger from Clifton refused medical attention for his injuries, Suarez said.

Matos, a Brooklyn-born freelance artist, was pronounced dead at the medical center four days later.

“The Regional Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death to be blunt impact injuries of the head,” Suarez said.

The prosecutor said it was “also determined by the New Jersey State Police forensic laboratory that Batista had THC/marijuana in his system at the time of the collision,” the prosecutor said.

Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Baginski of Suarez’s Homicide Unit secured the plea. Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Arre scheduled sentencing for Aug. 28.

Fernando Batista

Hudson County Prosecutor's Office

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