Union City Man Pleads Guilty in Head-On Collision that Killed Adriana Riano of North Bergen


Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez has released the following information:

A Union City man has pleaded guilty in the head-on collision on Paterson Plank Road in Jersey City that caused the death of Adriana Riano, a 32-year-old woman from North Bergen.

On September 8, 2020 Jonathan Ortiz-Guananga, age 27, pled guilty to one count of second- degree Death By Auto and one count of fourth-degree Assault by Auto related to the fatal crash that occurred on May 5, 2019 on Paterson Plank Road in Jersey City. The plea was heard before the Honorable Patrick J. Arre, J.S.C. and members of the victim’s family were present in the courtroom during the plea.

The State is recommending a sentence of eight years in New Jersey state prison subject to the No Early Release Act on the Death By Auto charge to run consecutive to a flat 12 months in New Jersey state prison on the Assault by Auto charge.

On June 27, 2019, at approximately 9:35 a.m., Jonathan Ortiz-Guananga was arrested without incident by members of the Hudson County Regional Collision Investigation Unit and charged with Death by Auto in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5, a second-degree crime and Assault by Auto in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1, a fourth-degree crime. He was also charged with violations of Title 39. The violations are Speeding, Driving While Intoxicated, Failure to Maintain a Marked Traffic Lane and Reckless Driving. Ortiz-Guananga was subsequently indicted with the upgraded charge of Aggravated Manslaughter in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4, a first-degree crime which will be dismissed as a result of his plea at the time of sentencing.

Prosecutor Suarez credited the Hudson County Regional Collision Investigation Unit with the investigation and arrest and the Jersey City Police Department for assisting with the investigation.

On Sunday, May 5, 2019, at approximately 7:15 a.m., Jersey City Police Officers were dispatched to Paterson Plank Road in Jersey City, just south of the Congress Street intersection, on a report of a motor vehicle collision. Upon arrival, the responding officers discovered two vehicles were involved in a collision.

The first vehicle was a 2008 Ford Edge operated by Riano containing a 30-year-old male passenger. The second vehicle was a 2015 Dodge Charger operated by Ortiz-Guananga of Union City.

All three individuals were transported by Emergency Medical Services to Jersey City Medical Center. Riano was pronounced dead at approximately 3:15 p.m. Her passenger was treated for non-life threatening injuries. Ortiz-Guananga was treated for injuries related to severe leg trauma.

Sentencing in this case has been scheduled for October 29, 2020 before the Honorable Patrick J. Arre, J.S.C.

The State is represented in this case by Assistant Prosecutor Leo Hernandez and Assistant Prosecutor Luisa Florez of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.