By Kevin Canessa Jr. and Ron Leir
Harrison police say they have arrested a 57-year-old Kearny man in connection with a hit-and-run that threw a Harrison woman nearly 12 feet into the air and left her in critical condition in a local hospital.
After a week-long investigation, Harrison PD say they arrested Steven Mochan, 57, of Kearny, and charged him with assault by auto and leaving the scene of an accident with seriously bodily injury, both fourth degree crimes.
Mochan is alleged to have struck Mary Hennit, 90, of Harrison, as she crossed the street at the intersection of S. Fifth St. and Harrison Ave. at around 3:40 p.m., May 30.
Hennit was taken by ambulance to University Hospital, Newark, where, as of last week, she was reported to have suffered a fractured right knee, fractured pelvis, fractured spine and fractured right wrist, police reported.
Police said the incident unfolded as Hennit was heading to church.
Police gave the following account in a report that Capt. Michael Green provided to The Observer:
An eyewitness told police he saw Hennit hit by a vehicle where the driver of a dark-colored SUV briefly stopped — but then took off on S. Fifth.
Another witness told police the car made a fast left turn from Harrison Ave. to S.Fifth when it struck Hennit, who was walking in a crosswalk.
Police officer Michael Gilmore, who filed the incident report, wrote that Hennit had the right of way when she was crossing the street. He also said that Hennit was thrown at least 11 ½ feet by the impact and that her right knee ended up “contorted unnaturally.”
Det. Sgt. Dave Doyle told The Observer the HPD investigators were aided by video footage taken from a security camera outside Washington Middle School that captured images of the accident and provided a clear image of the vehicle operated by the hit-and-run driver.
Additionally, Doyle said that information from an anonymous tipster who reportedly saw the accident turned up a name of the suspected driver, which, in turn, led police to a check of state motor vehicle records and a Kearny address for the person to whom the vehicle was registered.
When police went to that location, they said they saw the vehicle that appeared to match the image from the tape parked in the driveway of the residence, but the suspect wasn’t there. Instead, they found a relative of his — to whom the vehicle was registered — and they told the relative to let him know police were looking for him.
The next day, Mochan’s attorney called detectives and agreed to have his client surrender himself to police, Doyle said.
Mochan was released on his own recognizance, pending a June 15 hearing at Hudson County Central Judicial Processing Court in Jersey City. Because Mochan is a lifelong Kearny resident and because he had voluntarily cooperated with police, Mochan was not placed in jail to await his preliminary hearing, Doyle said.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.