FORT LEE, N.J. – An unlicensed 19-year-old Bronx driver was released without bail after he drove into oncoming traffic in Fort Lee to pass a driver stopped at a red light, crashed his vehicle into another – sending his passenger to the hospital -- and then took off on foot.
Police found Jordaniel Ortega a short distance from the scene and took him into custody after Sunday’s 2 p.m. crash, acting Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal said Monday.
He’s charged with aggravated assault by auto, leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury, endangering an injured victim and being a suspended drver involved in a serious crash.
The victim remained hospitalized at Hackensack University Medical Center with serious injuries, Grewal said.
The prosecutor’s Fatal Accident Investigation Unit – working with Fort Lee police and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification – determined that Ortega was headed north on Bergen Boulevard when “he drove into the southbound lanes to pass a northbound vehicle that was stopped in front of him at the red light” at Route 5.
There, his car collided with another and Ortega bailed out, leaving his seriously injured passenger behind.
A judge ordered Ortega released on his own recognizance pending a first appearance scheduled for Sept. 9 in Fort Lee Municipal Court.