NEW BRUNSWICK — Criminal charges have been filed against the driver and passenger of a sports utility vehicle that fled after striking and killing a 26-year-old bicyclist in New Brunswick, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced Saturday.
The driver, Timothy Puskas, 36, of New Brunswick was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, and his passenger, Stephen Gallo, 34, of Milltown, was charged with hindering the apprehension of Puskas by helping hide Puskas’s black 1998 Toyota 4Runner, which was recovered by police at an apartment complex in Bound Brook.
The two were charged on Friday evening following an intensive investigation by Officer Hector Lugo of the New Brunswick Police Department and Investigator Greg Morris and Sgt. Paul Miller, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Puskas was charged at New Brunswick police headquarters at about 9 p.m., while Gallo was arrested at his home at about 11 p.m.
Both men were being held at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center in North Brunswick after Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz set bail at $100,000 for Puskas and $25,000 for Gallo. They must post the full amount, rather than 10 percent, before they can be released from custody.
The investigation began when the Toyota 4Runner fled on Georges Road in New Brunswick after striking Leonel Lopez Hernandez of New Brunswick at 10:53 p.m. on Jan. 25.
Hernandez, a husband, and father of two young children, was riding his bike home from Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he worked as a custodian.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the investigation determined that Puskas was driving on Georges Road and heading toward North Brunswick when he crossed into the oncoming traffic lane and struck Hernandez, who was on the side of the road near the South Talmadge Street intersection.
Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene.
The investigation is continuing and police urge anyone with information to contact Officer Lugo of the New Brunswick Police Department at 1-732-745-5200, or Investigator Morris of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-732-745-3927.
Both Puskas and Gallo are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.
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