Edison Man Charged In Hit-and-Run Fatality

EDISON — An Edison man has been arrested and charged in connection with the death of a pedestrian, who was struck and killed while crossing Route 18 on April 14, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Anthony A. Caputo, director of the New Brunswick Police Department, announced today.

Tarek Barakat, 19, was arrested at his home on April 16 and was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident; hindering his apprehension and tampering with evidence.

Barakat, who was released from custody after posting $75,000 bail, was arrested and charged during an intensive investigation by Officer Hector Lugo of the New Brunswick Police Department and Investigator Adrian Villegas of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

The investigation began when police were alerted at to the hit and run and arrived at the George Street intersection at Route 18 to find Alvaro Ortega Santiago, 41, also of Edison, had been struck by a motor vehicle shortly before 12:07 a.m. on April 14.

Santiago was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced dead at 12:52 a.m. on April 14.

According to authorities, the investigation showed Barakat, who was driving a 2008 Honda Civic, fled the scene after striking the pedestrian. The defendant also allegedly failed to report the incident and hid the Honda at a storage facility.

The investigation is active and is continuing. Authorities are asking anyone with information to call Investigator Villegas of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-732-745-4428, or Officer Lugo of the New Brunswick Police Department at 1-732-745-5200.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, Barakat is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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