Union Township man charged in connection with alcohol-fueled Linden wreck that took Hillside officer’s life

Ricardo Dos-Santos
Ricardo Dos-Santos

A Union Township man has been arrested and charged with being responsible for the alcohol-related motor vehicle collision that took the life of his passenger, an off-duty Hillside police officer, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan and Linden Police Chief David Hart jointly announced Tuesday.

Ricardo Dos-Santos, 29, is charged with second-degree vehicular homicide and additionally has been cited for driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, careless driving, speeding, failure to observe a traffic signal, and failure to wear a seat belt.

At approximately 2:15 a.m. on Monday, October 15, 2018, members of the Linden Police Department responded to the area of U.S. Routes 1&9 and Pleasant Street in Linden on a report of a serious motor vehicle crash and found Dos-Santos and a second male, 30-year-old Giovanni Esposito, suffering from serious injuries at the scene, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Armando Suarez, who is prosecuting the case. Both injured men were transported to University Hospital in Newark, where Esposito was pronounced dead shortly after arriving, Suarez said.

A joint investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Linden Police Department Traffic Bureau revealed that Dos-Santos’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 when he collided with the rear portion of a commercial truck that had been stopped at a red light.

Dos-Santos was arrested without incident on Saturday, and a first appearance in the case has been tentatively scheduled for this Thursday. Anyone with further information about this matter is being asked to contact Linden Police Investigator Jimmy Solano at 908-494-6792 or Task Force Detective Richard Acosta at 908-347-0404.

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

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