Passaic County Technical Institute security officer charged with hit-and-run crash that killed two pedestrians www.privateofficer.com
CLIFTON NJ April 6 2012 — Investigators arrested a man suspected in a hit-and-run crash that killed two pedestrians, police said.
Jason Askew, 42, of Paterson, was arrested Wednesday in the March 17 crash that killed Jhasleidy Benjumea-Bastidas, 28, of Passaic, and Jose Fernandez-Minaya, 35, of Brooklyn. He is in Passaic County Jail on $250,000 bail, said Sgt. Michael Bienkowski of the Clifton police department’s traffic unit.
Investigators tracked down Askew’s Cadillac Escalade, which they suspect was the vehicle that hit the two at Route 46 and 7th Street.
Askew was charged with two counts of leaving the scene of a fatal accident, two counts of endangering a victim, tampering with evidence and hindering apprehension, authorities said.
The date of his arraignment and his lawyer’s name were not immediately available. Askew works as a security guard for Passaic County Technical Institute and is employed with the U.S. Postal Service in Teterboro.
The victims’ families seemed relieved when told that someone had been arrested in the crash, Bienkowski said.
Benjumea-Bastidas had two young children, a son and a baby girl. Fernandez-Minaya was buried in the Dominican Republic, where his family originates.
They were struck shortly before 4 a.m. that Saturday morning. Benjumea-Bastidas and Fernandez-Minaya were in the eastbound lane of Route 46 near Seventh Street when they were struck.
Police said Benjumea-Bastidas and Fernandez-Minaya and two other companions were driving home from a bar. Benjumea-Bastidas had been arguing with her boyfriend and asked the driver to let her out. As she walked toward her car her boyfriend followed and argument continued, police said.
Fernandez-Minaya left the car and tried to calm the couple down, police said. At some point, the boyfriend returned to the car and began to park it in a gas station lot when a passing car hit Benjumea-Bastidas and Fernandez-Minaya without stopping, police said.