The 23-year-old Jersey City man who struck and killed two teens with his car in North Bergen on Saturday night has had a suspended driver’s license since 2012 and was driving 74 miles per hour on John F. Kennedy Boulevard, officials said.
Eric Patterson, 23 of Jersey City, was charged with speeding, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, two counts of death by auto (second degree) and one count of non-fatal assault by auto non-fatal (fourth degree), officials announced at North Bergen Town Hall this afternoon.
Patterson was driving a silver 2004 Infinity G-35 when he drove around cars stopped at a red light at John F. Kennedy Boulevard and 26th Street, jumping the curb and striking three teens before crashing into the wall of the business at 2625 JFK Blvd.
Bryan Rodriguez, 17, of Union City, and Noel Herrera, 16, of Cliffside Park (and formerly of Union City), were killed in the wreck.
Manuel Sanchez, 16, of Union City, remains in critical condition at Jersey City Medical Center as a result of the crash.
Despite reports of alcohol playing a factor in the accident, officials would only confirm that the investigation is pending at this time as they await the toxicology reports from the accident.
Union Police Chief Richard Molinari placed this accident as one of the worse he has seen in his career in law enforcement.
“I’ve been in law enforcement almost 29 years and what i witnessed on Saturday night I’m sure will stay in my memories. it was a horrific, terrifying scene.”
Molinari added that driving is a privilege in New Jersey that should be taken more seriously, with this crash being an example of the type of careless and reckless driving that can unfortunately be commonplace.
Others at the press conference included North Bergen Mayor/state Senator Nick Sacco (D-32), Union City Mayor/state Senator Brian Stack (D-33), North Bergen Commissioners Alan Pascual and Julio Marenco, North Bergen Freeholder Anthony Vainieri (D-8), North Bergen Police Chief Robert Dowd and Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari.
There will be a vigil for the lives lost on 26th and Kennedy Boulevard at 5 p.m. tonight for those that wish to pay their respects.