Man who killed teen in DWI hit-and-run crash sentenced to 10 years

NEWARK, NJ — Gustavo Palomo, 39, of Newark, was sentenced to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison for killing 19-year-old Jaleel McCauley in a hit-and-run car crash, according to a March 3 press release from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

The sentence was imposed by presiding Criminal Division Judge Ronald D. Wigler. In December, Palomo pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide. Under the No Early Release Act, Palomo must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

On March 17, 2019, at approximately 6:39 p.m. McCauley was struck from behind by a white pickup truck while his car was stopped at a red light on the exit ramp of I-280 and First Street in Newark. McCauley sustained serious injuries and on March 23 he died from those injuries.

Palomo, the driver of the white pickup truck that struck McCauley, fled the scene, according to Assistant Prosecutor Brian Pollock. Palomo was quickly apprehended. The investigation revealed that Palomo had been traveling at a high rate of speed and driving under the influence of alcohol, Pollock said.

“Defendant’s decision to drive after drinking prematurely ended the very promising life of a vibrant and altruistic 19-year-old man and caused unfathomable pain to those that loved him. If the deterrent effect of defendant’s long prison term spares just one family the same pain suffered by Jaleel McCauley’s family, then it will be justified,” Pollock said.