Garbage truck driver in fatal accident appears in court

The garbage truck driver who fatally struck a pedestrian in Bayonne last month made his first court appearance yesterday on the charge of causing a death while being an unlicensed driver. Authorities say Daniel Peek, 44, of Union City, had no commercial driver’s license when he struck and killed Caleb Serrano, 32, on Feb.

3 at Avenue C and 55th Street. Peel was operating a truck for Suburban Disposal Inc. of Fairfield.

At the hearing, Peek was read the charges against him, informed of his rights by Judge Margaret Marley and given a court date of April 26 before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale. The charge is a third-degree offense and carries a possible sentence of three to five years upon conviction, although there is a presumption of non-incarceration for first-time offenders. Peek is also charged with motor vehicle offenses of driving without a valid commercial driver’s license, failing to observe a traffic signal, careless driving and reckless driving, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Authorities said Serrano was hit at the intersection’s crosswalk as Peek’s truck was making a left turn onto Avenue C from 55th Street. The owner of the garbage truck, Suburban Disposal Inc., located in Fairfield, has been issued a summons for allowing an unlicensed driver to operate one of its commercial vehicles, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said yesterday. Serrano is survived by a son, Elijah, 11; father, Jose; mother, Enid; brother, Josue; and sister, Nini.

Following Serrano’s death, his family created a GoFundMe page to raise money to help pay for his funeral services.

Peek left quickly after the hearing in Criminal Justice Reform Court in Jersey City and did not speak to the media.

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