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No prison time for illegal Mexican church van driver in fatal Saddle Brook crash

Photo Credit: Courtesy News 12 New Jersey

UPDATE: An illegal Mexican immigrant from Rockland County will likely be deported after pleading guilty today in Hackensack to being unlicensed when he crashed 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 swung a deal with prosecutors through which he’ll be sentenced to time served in the Bergen County Jail before he’s turned over to federal authorities.

Martinez-Y-Martinez was arrested after the Oct. 1 crash killed Vilma Castro-DeMox and critically injured four other people.

He pleaded guilty today to a third-degree crime of being an unlicensed/suspended driver involved in a fatal collision.

Martinez-Y-Martinez said his New Mexico driver’s license wasn’t valid when the van containing 23 people slammed into the van on the southbound parkway (New Mexico is one of only a few states where illegal aliens can lawfully obtain a driver’s license. Once resident moves from the state, it’s no longer valid, however).

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

There were 23 occupants in the Ford Econoline passenger van, which landed on its roof against the parkway divider across from southbound Exit 159 following the 7:30 p.m. crash, authorities said at the time.

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 .

The New Jersey State Police Fatal Accident Unit was quickly summoned, along with no fewer than six ambulances.

Five people were immediately taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson and two — an adult and child — were brought to Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, the law enforcement official said.

At least three more were also hospitalized, authorities later confirmed.

The #163 bus had finished its route and was headed to the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan with no passengers when it collided with the passenger van, said Bill Smith, an NJ Transit spokesman, said at the time. The bus driver complained of neck and back pain, Smith told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Among the many first responders were ambulance crews from Saddle Brook, Elmwood Park, Lodi and St. Joseph’s.

PHOTO: Courtesy News 12 New Jersey

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