Linden man arrested in hit-and-run that killed NYC cop
Police say a 35-year-old Linden man has been arrested in connection with a fatal hit-and-run accident that killed an off-duty New York City police officer Sunday.
William Espinal-Mejia was charged in connection with the crash, which took place on the NJ Turnpike in Elizabeth, NJ State PoliceColonel Rick Fuentes and acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced in a Facebook post Monday.
Authorities say Espinal-Mejia turned himself in to state troopers Monday evening at the Newark Police station.
The victim of the crash was identified as Vincent Harrison, 25, of Valley Stream, N.Y. Authorities say he wasn't on duty when the accident took place. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say the crash took place around 3 a.m. Sunday in the southbound outer lanes of the NJ Turnpike in Elizabeth.
"The investigation, which remains ongoing, revealed that Harrison had been operating a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze when he changed lanes and collided with a 2003 Ford Escape. Harrison’s vehicle came to rest on the right shoulder of the highway, while the Ford was disabled in the right lanes," authorities said in a statement.
When Harrison exited his vehicle, he was allegedly struck by the Infiniti EX35 being driven by Espinal-Mejia. Police say he stopped briefly but then left before troopers arrived. The suspect's vehicle was identified and tracked to his home in Linden.
"At the scene it was reported to troopers that Harrison engaged in an exchange of words with the driver of the Escape and then had his weapon drawn immediately prior to being struck by the Infinity. This also remains under investigation," police said.
Espinal-Mejia is charged with one count of second-degree leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He was placed under arrest and was being held in Union County Jail in default of $100,000 bail, police said in a statement.
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor for news at NJ 101.5. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.