Teen tragically killed and Union City’s finest injured as motorcycles slam through fatal accident scene


A man on a motorcycle smashed into them as they investigated the scene of a fatal accident that claimed the life of a local teen — and now two Union City cops are in the hospital being treated for their injuries. A third has since been released.

The 16-year-old, Sean Lemus — was a longtime Union City student well liked among his peers and the school district is in mourning.

Capt. Joseph Botti, Lt. Michael Bergbauer and Officer Nick Alverez are on the mend, but their conditions were not immediately known.

According to Mayor Brian Stack, the Union City High School junior collided with the back of a DPW truck on 31 Street and Palisade Avenue, pinning him underneath and leaving him dead at the scene.

The motorcyclist, known to cops as 24-year-old Aryan Acosta-Reinoso, of Paterson is currently in custody — while a second biker, Ricardo Suazo, of Paterson who originally fled has been arrested.

Acosta-Reinoso has been charged with eluding; aggravated assault and receiving stolen property (motorcycle). He made his first appearance in CJR court in Jersey City this afternoon and is being held in the Hudson County Correctional Facility, pending a detention hearing on Tuesday.

As Suazo drove his motorcycle through the fatal collision, he crashed into the garbage truck while also striking four Union City Police officers.

The 25-year-old was transported to Christ Hospital, where he was treated and released into the custody of Hudson County Sheriff’s Officers. 

A fourth cop was treated at the scene.

Suazo has been charged with three counts of assault by auto and assault by auto, a disorderly persons offense. He will be in CJR Court tomorrow afternoon.

No charges have been filed against the truck driver, who remained at the scene after the collision.

Cops diverted traffic to investigate the 8 p.m. crash, where screeching engines were audible in the background as two motorcycles drag raced toward the intersection. The other motorcyclist reached speeds of up to 100 mph.

Stack, who was mere feet from the accident and witnessed the officers being hit told nj.com there was no way a car could get through.

“The only thing that could have gotten through was a motorcycle.”

Officials say the officers are expected to survive and on Wednesday the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association asked for prayers on social media.

“My heart goes out to the family of Sean Lemus who died in this tragic accident,” Stack says, adding that he asks everyone keep to the injured officers in their prayers as they recover from their injuries.

According to Sheriff Frank Schillari, all the officers involved did an outstanding job responding to the accident, providing medical assistance to the injured officers and arresting the motorcyclist who crashed into them.

“Our hearts go out to the Lemus family and we pray for the speedy recovery of the officers,” Schillari says.

Prosecutor Esther Suarez credited the Union City Police Department, Hudson County Sheriff’s Office and Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor for leading the investigation.

She also noted that the following agencies assisted: Secaucus Police Department, North Bergen Police Department, Weehawken Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations and West New York Police Department.

“I would like to thank all the Hudson County law enforcement agencies for their professional collaboration in dealing with the tragedy,” Suarez says.

The crash remains under investigation and Stack says the garbage truck was on routine rounds when the tragedy occurred.

The Union City Police Department has extended their gratitude for the tremendous outpouring of support and concern for the three officers.

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Jillian has a passion for news, giving voice to the voiceless and telling stories that make an impact. A New Jersey native, she spent the past two years as a multimedia journalist/one-man-band at WTAP-TV, the NBC affiliate in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she covered everything from meth busts to fracking to the homeless to a young man struck by lightening. She was her news director’s “go to health reporter” and also covered many education and political stories. She frequently interviewed the mayors of Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown, WV and Belpre and Marietta, Ohio. She interviewed OH Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Fitzgerald and OH Congressional Candidate Jennifer Garrison, as well as WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and WV Senator Joe Manchin. Jillian was a regular fixture at the local police, sheriff’s departments, prosecutors’ offices and courthouses. Many looked forward to her ‘Mom of the Month’ series. Her story about two women who lost their children to heroin was widely recognized, along with her much loved piece on the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis band camp. In her free time, Jillian enjoys yoga; working out, live music, spending time with friends on both coasts and the Mid-Ohio Valley. Follow on Twitter @JillianRis


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