Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino today announced an Essex County Grand Jury returned a five-count indictment charging Jose A. Beltran, 49, with leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
In the early morning hours of Dec. 18, 2009, Beltran was driving a black Lincoln Navigator, on the Garden State Parkway in Irvington when he struck and killed Ricci Chicas, 21, of Garfield. Chicas and two friends had pulled over on the shoulder of the Garden State Parkway at about 4 a.m. to change a flat tire when Beltran hit their Honda Accord.
Chicas was taken to University Hospital in Newark. He died from his injuries.
The indictment charges Beltran with driving a motor vehicle recklessly and then fleeing the scene, after causing injuries that left Chicas physically helpless, mentally incapacitated or otherwise unable to care for himself. He is also charged with causing a collision that resulted in serious bodily injury of Shannel Diaz, 21, of North Bergen.
Beltran is free on $100,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on July 6, before the Honorable Peter Vazquez. Assistant Prosecutor Shelton McCall is handling the case.
These are mere accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.