A driver who fatally struck a 12-year-old boy and fled the scene in Union nearly three years ago has been sentenced to less than eight years in prison.

Jose Marrero, 39, of Kearny (formerly a resident of Lake Hiawatha in Parsippany-Troy Hills), was previously found guilty by a jury of knowingly leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, according to Union County Prosecutor William Daniel.

Jeremy Maraj, of Union, had been walking home from a park with his grandmother when he was hit by a work van that never stopped on July 17, 2019.

Maraj died from his injuries two days later.

Jeremy Maraj, 12, was fatally struck in 2019 (GoFundMe via Tom Ehrhardt)
Jeremy Maraj, 12, was fatally struck in 2019 (GoFundMe via Tom Ehrhardt)

Marrero was sentenced on Friday by Union County Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch.

He was driving a 2016 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van, prosecutors said, when he struck Maraj on the shoulder of Galloping Hill Road near Forest Drive.

There was a public plea for information following the hit and run.

"You must know you hit a child, you know you hit someone. I just ask you, I beg you to come forward. And if anyone knows anything, I beg them to please, please say something," Jeremy's mother, Lisa Jamurath, said to New Jersey 101.5, two weeks after the crash that had killed her son.

About a day later, Marrero surrendered at the Prosecutor's Office in Elizabeth.

A gas station on Salem Road had surveillance footage of the van, according to the complaint filed in Marrero's arrest, which was returned the next day to his employer "with significant damage to its windshield, hood and passenger side headlight."

Marrero had told his girlfriend he must have hit a deer, according to the same criminal complaint.

Two different GoFundMe campaigns raised nearly $60,000 in memorial funds honoring the 12-year-old's memory.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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