Jersey City police car
Jersey City Police Car

The tragic accident that took the life of forty-year-old Jersey City police officer Morton Otundo early this morning is considered the most common type of crash to befall motorcycle riders.

According to investigators with the Hudson County Regional Collision Investigation Unit and the Jersey City Police Department, Otundo was  traveling east on Communipaw Avenue on a Yamaha motorcycle when he collided with a Ford Escape as it was making a left turn from Communipaw Avenue onto Woodward Street from the opposite direction.

The motorcycle website A Ride Apart, calls Otundo’s type of collision, “The most common motorcycle accident.” A Ride Apart explains how such accidents happen. “A car fails to see you or judges your speed incorrectly, turning in front of you at an intersection. Blame inattention, distraction, blind spots and even psychology; a driver looking for cars perceives merely an absence of cars, not the presence of a motorcycle.”

Tributes to Otundo are pouring in.

Police Officer Morton Otundo and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop
Police Officer Morton Otundo and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop

Mayor Fulop posted to Facebook, “I had the privilege of hiring Officer Otundo and I know firsthand that he leaves behind a lasting legacy throughout the entire police department through his two younger brothers, who are also on the force, as well as the many new officers with whom he took the time to mentor, sharing his knowledge to help provide guidance and ultimately strengthening the department overall.”

In a tweet, Jersey City Municipal Prosecutor Jake Hudnut quoted Otundo’s swearing-in address to fellow officers. “Being a police officer is not about arresting people, it’s about helping people”

Ward E Councilman James Solomon tweeted “To the Otundo Family, to Officer Otundo’s JCPD colleagues, and his friends, my condolences. Sending strength and solidarity to you during this difficult time.”

For Jersey City Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association President Joe Cossolini, Otundo was “an incredible human being with a magnetic personality.”

Otundo became a police officer at the beginning of 2014 and was the president of his recruiting class sworn in at City Hall in December 2013.

The accident took place shortly before 2:00 a.m., when police responded to a report of a collision involving a motorcycle at the intersection of Communipaw Avenue and Woodward Street. Upon their arrival, the officers found Otundo suffering from serious injuries. 

Otundo was treated at the scene and taken by Emergency Medical Services to Jersey City Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at approximately 2:30 a.m.

At the time of the accident Otundo was off-duty.

The driver of the automobile, a 30-year-old Jersey City resident, was also transported by EMS to JCMC for evaluation. 

The events surrounding the crash remain under investigation by the Hudson County Regional Collision Investigation Unit with assistance from the Jersey City Police Department. No charges have been filed at this time. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor at 201-915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip on the Hudson County Prosecutor’s official website at http://www.hudsoncountyprosecutorsofficenj.org/homicide-tip/. All information will be kept confidential. 

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Aaron Morrill

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....