Drunken driver smashes into vehicle with family of 4 in it, then just drives off: Police

The approximate location of the crash mentioned in this story. Apple Maps

On the morning of July 28, a family of four was casually driving down Schuyler Avenue when a red Dodge Challenger blew through a red light on Dukes Street and smashed into them.

Video was later obtained from that intersection, which showed that the traffic light was steadily red for over 10 seconds for the Challenger, before the sports car flew through the intersection and caused the crash.

Rather than remain on scene to check on the mother, father, 11-year old or 1-year-old occupying the T-boned vehicle, the driver of the Challenger decided to speed off.

Debris and car parts littered the next three blocks of Dukes Street and Breiderhoft Road, creating a trail behind the fleeing suspect.

Det. Sgt. Michael Gonzalez captured the fleeing vehicle and detained the driver, Jahat A. Reategui, 31, of Kearny, after the vehicle drove onto Tappan Street.

Officer Sean King and other back-up units arrived on scene. Witnesses there provided statements describing the mayhem they had just observed, and confirmed the obvious — the destroyed red Challenger was at fault.

Reategui, who admitted to operating the red Challenger, reportedly reeked of alcohol and had bloodshot, watery eyes and slurred speech, among other signs of impairment.

Officer Sean Podolski administered standardized field sobriety tests — and those didn’t go so well.

Reategui was arrested and charged with DWI, DWI within 1,000 feet of school, refusal to submit to chemical breath test, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report accident, driving after driver’s license suspended, failure to produce vehicle insurance, failure to obey a traffic signal and his vehicle was impounded. Officers spent quite a bit of time collecting all of the debris and car parts. The family who was crashed into, meanwhile, went to hospital for treatment of non-life threatening.

It was discovered later Reategui’s driver’s license was suspended, and he has even been arrested as recently as May 2023 for driving while suspended.

At KPD Headqiarters, Reategui refused to blow into the Alco-Test, as required by law and he was additionally charged with that.

Shortly thereafter, Reategui was released to a responsible party.

A future — and apparently to-be-busy — court date is scheduled.

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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.

Det. Sgt. Michal Gontarczuk | Kearny Police Department