Friday, March 27, 2015

Report: Woman hit by cop's car fell with feet in crosswalk

The Hackensack Police Department report on the March 9 pedestrian fatality on Jackson Avenue and Kennedy Street includes a diagram showing that the victim, Hue D. Dang, landed with her feet in the crosswalk after she was struck by a detective's unmarked car, above. The police officer who wrote the report says the diagram is "an approximation."


Hackensack police will not be filing any charges against a Bergen County Prosecutor's Office detective in the death of a woman, even though their report shows she landed with her feet in the crosswalk after he struck her with his unmarked car on March 9.

This afternoon, police insisted they still do not know where the victim, Hue D. Dang, 64, of Hackensack, was standing or walking when she was struck and fatally injured by Detective Sgt. John C. Straniero's car.

Police Director Mike Mordaga and Capt. Nicole Foley were not available for comment today. Foley, head of the traffic division, was quoted in The Record's March 11 story on the accident.

Mordaga was chief of detectives in the Prosecutor's Office until 2007. He took over as director of the Hackensack department in February 2013. 

Maureen Parenta, communications director for Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, said the office would have no comment because one of its members was involved.

Hackensack Police Officer Timothy Sroka said the diagram in his report is "an approximation," adding police still do not know where the woman was when she was struck by Straniero's silver Ford Crown Victoria.

The report, apparently based on statements from Detective Straniero, cited a fence with aluminum slats "which partially obstructed view on northwest corner of Kennedy Street and Jackson Avenue."

"There was also a large amount of sun glare from the west as the sun was low in the sky at the time," the report says.

Sroka wouldn't answer a natural question: How can a driver kill a woman and not be charged with anything?

The documents turned over to Eye on The Record after an Open Public Records Act request included a report that Sroka took a video statement from Detective Straniero at 10 a.m. on March 10, the day after the accident.

Today, Eye on The Record filed an OPRA request for the transcript of that interview. 

Eye on The Record also has contacted the state police and state Attorney General's Office to express concern that the detective escaped even a traffic charge, such as failing to yield to a pedestrian.

See previous posts:

Residents: Detective's car struck woman near crosswalk

Cops won't release fatality report without OPRA request

The "RR" markings on the pavement show the car, driven by Detective Sgt. John C. Straniero of the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, stopped with the right rear wheel in the Jackson Avenue crosswalk after knocking down the 5-foot, 100-pound woman.
After the accident on March 9, the victim's blood stained the pavement, right. Police said she was bleeding "from her ears, eyes, nose, and head," and was pronounced dead less than an hour later at Hackensack University Medical Center. The woman landed on her back parallel to the passenger side of the car, police said, so her feet could have been in the crosswalk, left.

The crosswalk and corner where the woman was fatally injured, in a photo I took from behind the wheel of my car today. The police report cited the fence, right, as "partially" obstructing the view of the corner. Aluminum slats on the fence were removed after the accident.

Who was Hue Dang?

Hue D. Dang lived in an apartment building on Hudson Street, between Route 80 and Kennedy Street, only a few blocks away from where she was fatally injured.

People who live nearby said she was carrying plastic grocery bags when she was hit by the detective's car.

She worked as a cashier at the ShopRite in Paramus until 2013, one of her relatives said.

In 1975, Dang and seven siblings came to the United States with their parents as refugees from the Vietnam War.

Today's paper

Editor Martin Gottlieb again screws North Jersey readers with a front page dominated by an air disaster in Europe and Sen. Bob Menendez's legal troubles (A-1).

The Local front is filled with a huge, gee-whiz accident photo from Route 208, and Pages L-1, L-2 and L-3 have lots of court and police news for crime and lawsuit junkies.

'Wildly expensive'

Staff Writer Elisa Ung chose the "wildly expensive" Grissini in Englewood Cliffs to review.

She and a co-worker blew hundreds of dollars on two dinners of Italian-American food, rating the noisy restaurant Good to Excellent (BL-14).

Ung gorged on a $48 rack of lamb, but didn't bother to grill the owner on whether the meat was naturally raised. Ditto for a hunk of filet mignon at $45.

And she had to sample two artery clogging desserts, zabaglione at $30 for two and a ricotta cheese cake with tiramisu for $9.

Her Friday reviews continue to run with the same coy thumbnail photo she has been using since 2006, but it's time to update it and include her double chin.


  1. Excellent independent reporting on the fatal pedestrian accident caused by the policeman in his police car.

    Have you heard of any community organized support for her family, protests against the police, or potential lawsuits?

    When is the next Hackensack council meeting and will you attend to see if anyone raises any related issues?

    1. The woman's family will almost certainly file a wrongful death suit against the detective and the prosecutor's office, which allowed him to use an official vehicle for his commute to Wayne, where he lives.

  2. Did you read the Mordaga/Molinelli story in the Bergen dispatch?
    Whats your opinion?

    1. Not yet, but will get to it today.

    2. OK. My first impression is that this was written by a lawyer, and I think you know my opinion of most of them. Also, it rehashes a lot of stuff that appeared in The Record, where Staff Writer Jean Rimbach investigated Mike Mordaga but was never able to come up with anything definitive.

      If I recall correctly, her story on Mordaga was so weak the editors didn't even run it on Page 1.

    3. Again, this is not a "story" in the Bergen Dispatch. It's "commentary" and should be read as such.


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