Defendant sentenced for vehicular homicide

A local man has been sentenced to six years in state prison for being responsible for an alcohol-fueled wreck that took the life of an Elizabeth man last year, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Friday.

Sergio Gomez Ochoa, 37, must serve at least 85 percent of that time before the possibility of parole under the terms set down Friday by state Superior Court Judge John M. Deitch.

During the early hours of Monday, August 21, 2017, Ochoa, driving a Cadillac Escalade the wrong way down a one-way ramp onto U.S. Routes 1&9, collided head-on with a Nissan Altima being driven by 63-year-old Everett Ewan, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Colleen Ruppert, who prosecuted the case. Ewan was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene, Ruppert said. 

An investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force, Union County Sheriff’s Office, and Elizabeth Police Department revealed that Ochoa had been drinking at a nearby nightclub for approximately four hours prior to the wreck, while the victim had been driving home from his job at Newark Liberty International Airport. A blood test determined that Ochoa’s blood-alcohol level was .113, over the legal limit, about three hours after the crash.

Multiple members of Ewan’s family attended Friday’s sentencing, including his mother and sister, both of whom had statements read into the record.

Ochoa had pleaded guilty in April 2018 to a count of vehicular homicide.