Alleged hit-and-run driver surrenders

N.J. MVC Steve Mochan
Steve Mochan

By Kevin Canessa Jr. & Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondents 


Harrison police say they have arrested a 57-yearold Kearny man in connection with a hit-and-run that threw a Harrison woman nearly 12 feet into the air and that left her in critical condition in a local hospital.

After a week-long investigation, Harrison police 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.

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.

Police said the incident unfolded as Hennit was heading to church. Police gave the following account in a report Police Capt. Michael Green provided to The Observer:

An eyewitness told police he saw Hennit hit by a vehicle where the driver of a darkcolored SUV briefly stopped — but then took off thereafter on S.Fifth St.

Another witness told police the car made a fast left turn from Harrison Ave. to S. Fifth St., when it struck Hennit, who was crossing in a crosswalk.

Police officer Michael Gilmore, who took a report after the incident, wrote in his description that Hennit had the right of way when she was crossing the street. He also said the impact caused her right knee to be “contorted unnaturally.”

Gilmore’s report also says Hennit was thrown at least 11 1/2 feet after impact.

Police said Hennit, who was initially taken to University Hospital, Newark, suffered a fractured spine, right knee and right wrist.

Detective Sgt. Dave Doyle told The Observer the HPD was able to find Mochan after an anonymous tip and a video taken at Washington Middle School led them to the address where the SUV was registered.

When police went to that Kearny home, they say they saw the suspected vehicle parked in the driveway, but Mochan wasn’t there. Instead, they say 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 turn himself in to police, Mochan was released on his own recognizance, pending a June 15 hearing at Hudson County Central Judicial Processing [court] in Jersey City.

Learn more about the writer ...

Editor & Broadcaster at 

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.