Building superintendent acquitted of 2018 fatal hit-and-run outside NJ group home

A Bergen County man who admitted his SUV struck and killed a man in Garfield nearly four years ago was acquitted on Tuesday of all charges against him in the hit-and-run crash, his son said. lawyer.

Paul Frischer, now 63, was arrested following a September 2018 accident that killed Giovanni Rivera, 42, outside the group home where he lived in the 400 block of Ave. MacArthur.

After a six-week jury trial in Bergen County Superior Court in Hackensack, Frischer was found not guilty after 30 minutes of deliberations, Tacopina said.

The Bergen County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment on the verdict or the issues in the case.

After the accident, the DA’s office released a pair of surveillance photos showing Frischer’s 1999 Chevy Suburban, along with a press release stating that the truck hit and killed Rivera before driving away.

Rivera, who was crossing the street, was struck by the rear view mirror on the passenger side of Frischer’s truck. The mirror broke after hitting Rivera, police said.

After seeing a photo of his truck on the news, Frischer turned into a law enforcement officer.

Tacopina said his client told detectives that he was in Garfield at the time of the accident, that the vehicle that was released to the media resembled his SUV, and that if he hit the victim, “he wouldn’t didn’t know.”

A probable cause affidavit says Frischer confessed to hitting Rivera, but Tacopina disputed that claim, saying his client didn’t know he hit anyone and only turned himself in after seeing his truck to information.

“(The prosecutor’s office) had no leads, no ID of the driver, no ID of the vehicle. They put a photo and description of where it happened, when it happened and posted it,” Tacopina said.

“(Frischer) was watching TV and he sees it and says, ‘Well, I was at Garfield at 7 p.m. It looks like my truck. I don’t remember hitting anything, but I better know. ‘call 911.’

Frischer was arrested shortly after meeting with detectives, Tacopina said. He was released on bail after his arrest, Tacopina added.

Tacopina said Frischer, who owns several buildings in the Garfield area and works as a building superintendent, loaded his truck with tools and fire extinguishers, which contributed to the noise inside the vehicle.

Frischer was driving “with all the noise a 1999 Chevy Suburban makes and all the tools and metal objects inside the car and hits a pothole at the exact moment that (the victim) hit the side of his rear view mirror,” Tacopina said. .

“It hit the pothole and all the tools and everything inside was bouncing around. The guy hit his mirror, (but) he didn’t know,” Tacopina said.

A witness who rode in the truck before the accident said the noise inside sounded like a “mariachi band”, Tacopina said, adding that the testimony helped prove the vehicle was so loud that it it was possible that Frischer did not realize that he had hit someone. .

Frischer took the stand during the trial and cried for much of his testimony, Tacopina said.

“It was very emotional for him,” Tacopina said. “It cost him dearly. Even though he knows he did nothing wrong, he was still involved in a (fatal) accident.

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Anthony G. Attrino can be attached to tattrino@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. To find NJ.com on Facebook.

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