YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Rutherford police tracked down and charged a motorist who they said took off after striking a bicyclist with his car on Route 17 last Thursday night.
Jorge A. Velasquez, 48, was being held on $100,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with aggravated assault, assault by auto, leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury, endangering an injured victim and hindering his apprehension.
Velasquez was taken into custody and his car impounded after police, acting on a tip, found him in Belleville, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the arrest told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this morning.
The 32-year-old victim was headed from New York City to Pennsylvania when he stopped on the median between the southbound highway and the north service road near the Route 3 interchange to tend to a mechanical problem, Police Chief John Russo told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at the time.
The driver was in the center lane and “tried to make a last-ditch attempt to merge onto the service road by cutting across the median” when his dark-colored sedan with Maryland license plates hit the victim around 10:10 p.m., Russo said.
The cyclist landed on the hood, smashing the windshield and sustaining massive facial injuries, the chief said.
The victim, who’s from Bronson, Mich., was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center, he said.
The driver then “backed up and took off towards the [Rutherford] north service road and local streets,” Russo said.
Witnesses told police the sedan sustained front-end damage along with the broken windshield.