Somerset County man indicted in fatal Plainfield hit-and-run

A Union County grand jury has returned a two-count indictment against a man accused of being responsible for an alcohol-related hit-and-run that took the life of a man in Plainfield last fall, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.

Erixon Velasquez-Maldonado, 26, of North Plainfield is charged with second-degree vehicular homicide and second-degree leaving the scene of an accident in connection with the death of 45-year-old Maynor Pena of Piscataway.

It was shortly after midnight on Saturday, November 7, 2015 when Plainfield Police Division patrol units responded to the 700 block of West Front Street in Plainfield on a report of a hit-and-run pedestrian strike, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Jillian Reyes, who is prosecuting the case. Upon their arrival, officers found Pena suffering from serious injuries; he was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced dead a short while later, Reyes said.

Minutes after the hit-and-run, police responded to a report of a second accident near the area of Park Avenue and East 5th Street in Plainfield, where they found Velasquez-Maldonado and took him into custody. Velasquez-Maldonado later was found to have a blood-alcohol level of approximately three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Bail in the case was set at $150,000 with no cash allowance.

Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.