Man sentenced to 5 years in fatal hit-run bus stop crash
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — A New York man has been sentenced to five years in prison in a hit-and-run crash that killed a woman sitting at a New Jersey bus stop last fall.
Olvy Torres, 36, pleaded guilty earlier to leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death in the Sept. 26 wreck that killed 59-year-old Luisa Valdez. Authorities said Torres fled the North Bergen scene of the sport utility vehicle crash on foot and turned himself in a few days later.
Sandra Valdez, the daughter of the victim, said at Friday’s sentencing hearing in Hudson County that Torres “showed he is nothing but a selfish coward,” the Jersey Journal reported.
“He ran out of the (SUV) and left my mom to die like she was worth nothing,” said Valdez, who cried as she spoke. “He only cared about himself. ... My mom was someone.”
Police recovered $500,000 in cash and bags of diamonds inside a Bergen County apartment in Torres’ name. He also pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to a five-year term on that count to be served concurrently with the accident sentence.
Torres apologized, saying he had fallen asleep at the wheel, and also said no sentence he serves will make up for the family’s suffering.
Assistant Prosecutor Lynne Seborowski, however, noted that in the days before his surrender, security video showed Torres and family members clearing items out of the Bergen County residence.
Rather than remain at the scene of the accident, “he chose to go home to cover up whatever was going on there,” Seborowski said.
Superior Court Judge John Young indicated that he wasn’t convinced by Torres’ statements either and said that since fleeing the scene had likely allowed Torres to cover up additional crimes, the need to deter such behavior was overwhelming.
“A message must be sent,” Young said. “For those that stay (at the scene), good for them. For those that don’t, there must be a penalty. A message must be sent to the community that that type of behavior will not be tolerated.”
The money laundering probe also led to the arrest of a Brooklyn woman and a Teaneck woman, who entered pleas as part of a pretrial intervention program that will eventually allow their records to be cleared.
Information from: The Jersey Journal , http://www.nj.com/jjournal