Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced the implementation of the newly formed Hudson County Regional Fatal Collision Unit at a press conference today in Jersey City. The Unit was formed with the participation of multiple law enforcement agencies and chiefs in Hudson County and will include Crime Scene personnel from the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor. A dedicated group of Assistant Prosecutors will also be working with this unit and will be on call at all times.

Prosecutor Suarez conceptualized this unit after seeing a need soon after her tenure began as prosecutor and she immediately initiated discussions with Police Chiefs in Hudson County. Due to the concerning high rate of occurrence for this type of incident, Prosecutor Suarez, along with the Chiefs, determined that the citizens of Hudson County required highly trained detectives with the most up-to-date equipment available at their disposal.

This past year, she continued to push for the implementation of these plans, as deaths caused by vehicle collisions continued to occur at a concerning rate. “The official start date of this Unit was 10-days-ago on January 15, and the fact that this unit has already had to investigate two fatal

crash incidents makes the point of how invaluable this Unit will be to the County,” said Prosecutor Suarez.

Here are several facts and statistics related to this issue:

• This past year, there were 26 deaths caused by vehicle collisions in Hudson County. In 2016 there were 24 and in 2015 there were 27.

• Eighteen of the 26 deaths in 2017 were pedestrians or pedal cyclists. As a percentage, that number translates to 70 percent. The state average is 24 percent.

• Fifteen of those 18 deaths were pedestrians, tied for the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the state.

• In 2017, the entire state of New Jersey had four pedestrian fatalities under the age of 16. Three of those four occurred in Hudson County.

• During the past 6 years, Hudson County has averaged approximately 2.6 fatalities per year involving motorcycle collisions. In 2017, there were 4 fatalities.

“The grief and trauma felt by the families of those killed in vehicular collisions is no different than a death that occurs because of a violent crime,” said Prosecutor Suarez. “Death caused by a vehicle can happen to any motorist, pedestrian or bicyclist and these types of deaths impact a wide spectrum and variety of families. These Hudson County families deserve the best investigators and prosecutors that we can provide to ensure that justice is served when a loved one is lost.”

More than two dozen officers have been undergoing the necessary training for approximately one year. They will now be working with the latest Collision Technology Software available along with a Specialty Equipped Vehicle, an Aerial Drone and newly acquired Laser Scanning and Measuring Equipment.

“Speed, alcohol, drugs, distracted motorists and distracted pedestrians are all factors in many of these types of deaths,” said Prosecutor Suarez. “By acknowledging that these are the most

common contributing factors, we then must come to the conclusion that education and awareness must play a larger role in how our society begins to attack this problem.”

The following law enforcement agencies will be partners in the Regional Fatal Collision Unit: Jersey City Police Department; Bayonne Police Department; Secaucus Police Department; Union City Police Department; Hoboken Police Department; West New York Police Department; North Bergen Police Department; Kearny Police Department; Weehawken Police Department; the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office; and the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor.