WEST NEW YORK – Mayor Felix E. Roque and Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari held a press conference outside West New York town hall earlier today to discuss the investigation of the pedestrian who was struck and killed by a West New York Police Officer two days ago.
“There will be no charges filed against Officer Jorge Saldago,” Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari announced.
The incident occurred on Monday, March 30th at around 11:42 p.m. The 28-year-old pedestrian, Guiltier Guicoy-Mutzutz of Cliffside Park, was crossing Kennedy Blvd. between 70th and 71st St. when he was struck by a Honda Accord traveling south, closest to the side walk, driven by an off duty West New York officer. North Bergen Police and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the scene. A passing Guttenberg Police car was driving by the scene stopped to assist and found 28-year-old Guiltier Guicoy-Mutzutz, a Guatemalan national, of 90th Street, in North Bergen, lying face down on the sidewalk, unconscious and bleeding from his head. North Bergen Police arrived shortly after. The driver, 28-year-old Officer Jorge Salgado, immediately stopped and rendered assistance to the injured man, who was in cardiac arrest. North Bergen EMS arrived and transported the victim to Palisades Medical Center. He was pronounced dead shortly before noon on Tuesday morning.
Salgado was a rookie who had only worked for the department for a little over a year. The investigation revealed that Salgado was driving 27 miles per hour when he hit the pedestrian who officials said was not utilizing the cross walk and was about 70 feet north of it.
“He ran across at a very dark point in the roadway,” stated Sergeant Bruce Miller, Lead Crash Investigator. “He was wearing very dark colors and the area is also not well lit.”
But Mayor Roque added that “Most pedestrians are more careful.”
“The speed limit is 25 miles per hour but it’s not a reckless or careless incident. Everybody goes a little bit above or little bit below the speed limit. So, it’s not a careless or reckless incident, that’s why no charges will be filed,” said Miller, Lead Crash Investigator.
The investigation is now closed but police are waiting on toxicology reports to see if alcohol played a role in this incident as the victim appeared to be a “little wobbly,” according to Roque. “We don’t know if alcohol played a role in his darting out into the middle of traffic but when he was walking he was a little wobbly… so, we are waiting for test results to come back. We don’t know if that played a role in his spontaneous runs across the street,” Roque said.
Roque cautions residents to cross at the cross walk and wait for the traffic lights to change. “They are timed so pedestrians can get across the blvd. not just charge out into the roadway… It’s suicide doing that,” Schillari said.
Mayor Roque mentioned that a lot of pedestrians get struck in the Kennedy Blvd area.
“They just dart out into the traffic,” he said. “A lot of people take a chance since they’re all in a hurry.”
Mayor Roque offered his condolences to both families.
Officer George Saldago is currently taking vacation time and has not been suspended, according to West New York Police Director Robert Antolos.