Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced that Saleem Wright, 25, of Irvington was sentenced today to six years in state prison by the Honorable Peter J. Vazquez, J.S.C., for the fatal hit and run of 5-year-old Julianne Vega.
On July 22, 2010 the little girl was struck and killed by Wright, who was driving a 2005 blue Mercedes Benz CLK convertible, in the vicinity of 30 Columbia Avenue in Newark. The little girl was transported to University Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
Wright left the scene of the fatal collision and did not render aid to the victim. Several days later Wright surrendered to Rev. Ron Christian at Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington. Defense lawyer Gerald Saluti coordinated the surrender with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
On June 21, 2011, Wright pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular homicide.
The defense asked for a five-year sentence. Assistant Prosecutor Shelton L. McCall asked the judge to impose a six-year sentence, noting that Wright was speeding on a residential street when he struck the little girl. He also noted Wright had an extensive history of motor vehicle violations prior to the fatal incident. Wright has six prior orders of suspension and a number of violations, including speeding and driving recklessly. However, none of the orders of suspensions were directly a result of his driving but for not paying tickets.
Wright, who had been free on bail, was immediately taken into custody after Judge Vazquez imposed sentence.