Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez has released the following information:

A North Bergen man pleaded guilty today to second-degree Death by Auto for his involvement in the June 2019 collision that caused the death of a New York woman who was a passenger in the vehicle he was driving in West New York.

During the virtual plea hearing, which was attended by family members of the victim, Fernando Batista, 25, pleaded guilty to Death by Auto in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5a, a crime of the second degree, before the Honorable Patrick J. Arre, J.S.C.

The State is recommending a sentence of five years in New
Jersey state prison subject to the No Early Release Act. Additionally, Batista’s driver’s license will be suspended for a period between five years and life pursuant to 2C:11-5b(4).

On Tuesday, June 18, 2019, shortly after 12:30 a.m., West New York Police Officers responded to the intersection of 60th Street and Jefferson Street in West New York on a report of a motor vehicle collision. Upon arrival, the responding officers found that two vehicles were involved in a collision.

The first vehicle, a 2002 Acura TL, was operated by Batista. He was transported by Emergency Medical Services to Palisades Medical Center where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries. The Acura contained two passengers, Alyssa Matos, age 20, from Queens, and a 22-year-old male from North Bergen. Both passengers were transported by EMS to Jersey City Medical Center.

The second vehicle was a 2004 Infiniti G35 operated by Richard Henao, age 26, of West New York. Henao was transported by EMS to Palisades Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries. The Infiniti contained a single passenger, a 26-year-old male from Clifton, who sustained bodily injuries but refused medical treatment at the scene of the collision.

On Sunday, June 23, 2019, Matos was pronounced dead at Jersey City Medical Center. The Regional Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death to be blunt impact injuries of the head.

The investigation by the Regional Collision Investigation Unit determined that the Acura, driven by Batista, was traveling west on 60th Street and failed to observe the red traffic signal when it collided with the Infiniti as it traveled north on Jefferson Street. 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.

Sentencing in this case has been scheduled for August 28, 2020 before the Honorable Patrick J. Arre, J.S.C.

The State is represented in this case by Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Baginski of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Unit.