Arrested in Belleville fatal hit-run

Photo courtesy Essex County Prosecutor’s Office/ Luiz Cruz

A 42-year-old Nutley man was arrested Friday in the Sept. 17 hit-run death of a Belleville pedestrian, authorities reported.
The suspect, Luiz Cruz, allegedly struck and killed Jodi DeSoto, 42, of Belleville as she was crossing Belleville Ave. near Rhode Place at about 8:30 p.m. on the 17th.
Cruz reportedly fled the scene, leaving DeSoto in the street.
Police said she had been thrown 60 feet by the impact.
The victim died about 30 minutes later at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville.
Following a weeklong investigation, detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Homicide Task Force arrested Cruz, who has been charged with 2nd degree Vehicular Homicide, 2nd degree Leaving the Scene and 2nd degree Failure to Render Aid.
Pending his arraignment, he was remanded to the Essex County Correctional Facility in lieu of $200,000 bail, set by Judge Maurice Gallipoli.
DeSoto was the widow of Essex County Superior Court Judge Hector DeSoto and worked as a court services supervisor for the Criminal Division of the Superior Court, Essex County.
‘’This arrest was the result of old-fashioned police work,’’ said Acting Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray, commending the investigating officers.

— Karen Zautyk

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