Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that Suamy Ortiz, 24, of Newark died in a fatal collision on Route I-280 and First Street in the City of Newark at approximately 1:09 AM today.
Following an investigation by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Michael J. Hocutt, 44, of Maplewood was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide in connection with the death of Ms. Ortiz. Alcohol appears to be a factor in the crash. In addition to being charged with causing Ms. Ortiz’s death, aggravated assault charges were also lodged against Hocutt as a result of the injuries sustained by a 37-year-old female traveling with him. Her name is not being released at this time.
At approximately 1:09 AM Newark Police responded to a report of a serious car crash. The investigation revealed that a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder being driven by Hocutt was exiting I-280 and struck a 1999 Nissan driven by Ms. Ortiz.
Ms. Ortiz was pronounced dead at the scene. Hocutt and his passenger were transported to University Hospital. Hocutt was treated and released. The passenger remains hospitalized.
Bail was set at $150,000 by the Honorable Ronald D. Wigler, Judge of the Superior Court. Hocutt is being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility pending arraignment.
The victim’s next of kin have been notified. These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they either enter a guilty plea or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. No other information is available at this time.