Elizabeth man admits to DWI, fatal hit-and-run

An Elizabeth man has admitted to driving drunk on the night he struck and killed a pedestrian in Linden last year before fleeing the scene of the crime, acting Union County Prosecutor Ann M. Luvera announced Tuesday. 

Eduardo Perez, 33, pleaded guilty Monday to charges including second-degree vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated in connection with the death of 23-year-old Mujahid Henry of Newark.

At approximately 12:30 a.m. on Friday, May 12, 2017, Linden Police Department patrol units responded to the 1200 block of East Linden Avenue on a report of a motor vehicle incident, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Spagnoli, who prosecuted the case. An investigation led by the Linden Police Department Accident Investigation Team determined that a 2007 Ford Escape being driven by Perez and traveling eastbound at that location struck Henry, who was thrown into a nearby parked car and pronounced dead at the scene, Spagnoli said. 

Perez then drove into Elizabeth and abandoned the SUV on the 700 block of Lidgerwood Avenue, colliding with several parked vehicles in the process. He was located by Elizabeth Police Department patrol units on nearby Kenneth Avenue moments later and arrested.

The investigation determined that Perez was speeding and on the wrong side of the road when he struck and killed Henry. Perez also was found to have been in possession of a nearly empty bottle of cognac when he was arrested, and his blood-alcohol level was recorded at more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. At the time of the incident Perez also was on probation and driving on a suspended license following convictions on charges including robbery and aggravated assault.

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for Friday, March 23, 2018, at which time the State will request a term of eight years in state prison, with at least 85 percent of that time to be served before the possibility of parole under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act.