N.A. man charged in hit-run

PCPO Michael Choynowski
Michael Choynowski


For nearly a week, law enforcement was hunting the hit-run driver who allegedly struck a 22-year-old woman on Rt. 46 in Clifton on Oct. 9 and left her lying in the roadway, critically injured. The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office has now identified that driver as Michael Choynowski, 27, of North Arlington, who surrendered to authorities last Thursday, Oct. 15.

Choynowski has been charged with knowingly leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident resulting in serious bodily injury, and with endangering an injured victim. Each count carries a sentence of three to five years.

The complaint alleges that, at approximately 12:03 a.m. on Oct. 9, Choynowski was driving a Dodge Ram pickup truck eastbound on the highway near the Valley Road exit in Clifton when he hit pedestrian Anna T. Semioli of Moonachie.

Choynowski allegedly fled the scene, prompting public pleas by Clifton police — and the victim’s family — for information that could lead to an arrest.

A statement from the office of Passaic Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes noted that the charges against Choynowski resulted from “an intensive investigation” by her office’s Vehicular Homicide Unit and the Clifton Police Department.

That investigation reportedly included reviewing video from the area of the accident, interviews with witnesses, and subsequent identification of the truck and its driver and recovery of the vehicle.

A spokesman for the PCPO told The Observer on Friday that Choynowski was released on bail, which had been set at $30,000 with a 10% option. According to published reports, he has pleaded not guilty.

Semioli, a student at Montclair State University, was reportedly in a coma at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson. As of press time, there was no further information on her condition.

– Karen Zautyk 

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