Driver arrested in hit-and-run that seriously injured wheelchair-bound Leonia man

Leonia police have arrested a man accused in a hit-and-run that left a man in a wheelchair with serious injuries.



Authorities say that Thomas Malatesta, 53, struck the 78-year-old victim, who was trying to cross Fort Lee Road at the Leonia Avenue intersection Monday. The force of the impact propelled the victim about 20 feet in his wheelchair. The victim has six broken ribs, a broken collarbone and possibly a broken hip, according to police.



Malatesta was arrested Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot of 135 Fort Lee Road. Detectives were in the area reviewing surveillance footage when they noticed Malatesta's 2016 Buick Encore, which matched the description of the vehicle in the hit-and-run. Detectives also noticed front end damage to the SUV, according to police.



Malatesta was charged with knowingly leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident with serious bodily injury and endangering an injured victim, among other charges.


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