Driver charged in fatal hit-and-run

A Linden man has been arrested and charged in connection with a fatal hit-and-run accident that took place over the weekend on the New Jersey Turnpike in Elizabeth, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes jointly announced Monday.

William Espinal-Mejia, 35, is charged with a single count of second-degree leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He turned himself in to authorities Monday evening and was lodged in Union County Jail on $100,000 bail.

The victim in the case has been identified as 25-year-old Vincent Harrison of Valley Stream, N.Y., a New York City Police Department officer who was not on duty at the time of his death.

It was approximately 3 a.m. on Sunday, February 28 when state troopers responded to a report of a crash that occurred in the southbound outer lanes of the Turnpike near mile marker 102.5 in Elizabeth, according to the investigation. Harrison was found at that location and pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation revealed that Harrison was involved in an accident with another vehicle and reportedly exited his vehicle. Information provided to law enforcement led investigators to believe that Harrison had his weapon drawn immediately prior to being struck and killed by a vehicle being operated by Espinal-Mejia, who stopped briefly but then left the scene before troopers arrived.

The incident remains under investigation.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.