2 Social Workers in Critical Condition After NJ Hit-and-Run

What to Know

  • Two female pedestrians are in critical condition after a driver hit them and fled the scene, authorities say

  • A driver in a white vehicle hit the two pedestrians just before 2 a.m. Sunday, authorities said

  • Anyone with information about the hit-and-run is asked to call the Newark Department of Public Safety's tip line at 1-877-NWK-TIPS

Two pedestrians, both New Jersey social workers, are in critical condition after a driver hit them and fled the scene early Sunday morning, authorities say.

A driver in a white vehicle was heading east on Verona Avenue, near Broadway, in Newark just before 2 a.m. Sunday when the two women were struck, Newark's Department of Public Safety said.

The driver fled the scene, the department said.

Both women, Yesi Afflitto and Damaris Lamberty, are both social workers with Essex County's Department of Welfare, according to Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr.

Mary Altaffer/AP

Friends say Lamberty, Afflito and another friend were crossing Verona Street to get into Lamberty's car; Lamberty was the designated driver. That's when surveillance video showed a white SUV charge through the red light and hit the women at full speed.

Jose Hernandez was one of the first people who ran out to help the two victims.

"They were going home, and this guy came from nowhere," he said. "I was the one who dialed 911, and everyone from the bar came out and helped us out."

Afflito's family is keeping vigil at her bedside at University Hospital, praying that she will make a full recovery when she comes out of the coma. Hernandez said a priest was coming in on Monday to pray with her.

Both women are the mothers of son, and all of the family have been at the hospital since Sunday. No arrest has been made, and prosecutors are asking for the public's help identifying the driver of the white SUV, which presumably has front-end damage after the crash.

DiVincenzo said in a statement, “We are saddened to hear that two of our Essex County employees were injured during a senseless hit and run accident over the weekend. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.

“We are working with our Prosecutor's Office and law enforcement agencies to find the individuals involved. We encourage anyone who witnessed this accident or has information that may help law enforcement officials locate those involved to contact the police," DiVincenzo's statement continued.

Anyone with information about the hit-and-run is asked to call the department's tip line at 1-877-NWK-TIPS.


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