Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino today announced the arrest of Saleem Wright, 24, of Irvington. Wright has been charged with death by auto, leaving the scene of a fatal accident and endangering an injured victim in connection with the death of 5-year-old Julianne Vega.
Wright surrendered at approximately 2:30 p.m. to Rev. Ron Christian at Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington. The surrender was coordinated by the suspect's attorney, Gerald Saluti, and the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.
Detectives from the Prosecutor's Homicide Squad placed the suspect in custody at the church and transported him to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, where he was booked.
The investigation is being conducted in by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office in conjunction with the Newark Police Department Homicide Squad.
The child was allegedly struck and killed by Wright while crossing the street at approximately 8:38 p.m. yesterday at 30 Columbia Avenue. The little girl was transported to University Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 9:04 p.m.
A 2005 blue Mercedes Benz CLK convertible, fitting the description of the one that struck the child and registered to Wright, with visible front end damage, was recovered at approximately 2:54 a.m. today at 7th Avenue and North 11th Street in the City of Newark.
Bail was set at $150,000 by the Honorable Michael Petrolle. Wright has been transported to the Essex County Correctional Facility.
The investigation is continuing. We ask any witnesses to contact the Newark Police Homicide Squad or the Prosecutor's Office Homicide Squad at 1-877-847-7432.
The charges are mere accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty in a court of law.