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Deportation for illegal Guatemalan church van driver in fatal Saddle Brook crash

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter / IMAGE: Courtesy NEWS12 NJ
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter / IMAGE: Courtesy NEWS12 NJ

ONLY ON CVP: An illegal Guatemalan immigrant was bound for federal custody after a judge in Hackensack sentenced him yesterday to time served for crashing a church van into an NJ Transit bus – killing one of his passengers – on the Garden State Parkway in Saddle Brook last fall.

Oscar Martinez-Y-Martinez, 30, of Spring Valley, NY, was arrested after the Oct. 1 crash killed Vilma Castro-DeMox and critically injured four other people.

He pleaded guilty to a third-degree crime of being an unlicensed/suspended driver involved in a fatal collision and was formally sentenced yesterday.

Martinez-Y-Martinez’s New Mexico driver’s license wasn’t valid in New Jersey when the the Ford Econoline passenger van containing 23 people slammed into the bus on the southbound parkway and landed on its roof against a divider across Exit 159.

At least seven victims were immediately taken to the hospital, three with serious head injuries, after emergency workers pulled them from the wreckage, a law enforcement official told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at the time.

Although Martinez-Y-Martinez never lived in New Mexico, went there from Rockland County to obtain the license in late 2012, authorities said.

New Mexico is one of only a few states where illegal aliens can lawfully obtain a driver’s license. Once a resident moves from the state, it’s no longer valid.

New Jersey laws involving driving privileges are specially written “to prevent just this — people coming from all over and coming here with unrecognized licenses and driving without being qualified to drive,” Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Martin Delaney said.

“This kind of an accident is a tragedy all around,” Superior Court Judge Eugene H. Austin said yesterday.

STORY / COURT PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter / IMAGE: Courtesy NEWS12 NJ

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