Off-duty Hillside cop killed in Linden crash

LINDEN, NJ — An off-duty Hillside police officer was killed and another person seriously injured in an early morning automobile crash Oct. 15 that closed U.S. Routes 1 & 9 in Linden in both directions for more than six hours.

Hillside Police Officer Giovanni Esposito, 30, who joined the Hillside Police Department in November 2017, died after being taken to Newark University Hospital, a Linden police release said.

Linden emergency crews responded at about 2:15 a.m. to report of a motor vehicle collision on Routes 1 & 9 at the intersection of Pleasant Street.
Initial reports indicated that a 2017 Acura was traveling north when it collided with a 2007 International trailer cab that was traveling north in the center lane. The Acura overturned, both occupants were seriously injured and taken to Newark University Hospital.

The second victim, a 29-year-old Colonia resident, remained in serious condition. The driver of the tractor was not injured.
Linden Police Lt. Christopher Guenther said on the afternoon of Oct. 15 that he could not specify who was driving the Acura.
Routes 1 & 9 were closed in both directions between S. Stiles Street in Linden and Grand Avenue in Rahway for most of the morning commute. Northbound lanes were reopened at about 8:45 a.m., however southbound lanes remained closed until about 10:45 a.m.

“The men and women of the Hillside Police Department are deeply saddened to have learned the news of a vehicle crash last night in Linden, which took the life of one of our own, Officer Giovanni Esposito,” Hillside Chief Vincent Ricciardi said in a statement obtained through the Linden police.

“Officer Esposito loved his job and was a warm and friendly person who was well-liked by all who knew him. He prided himself on serving the community of Hillside with diligence and compassion. His death is a profound loss to our department and we will miss him terribly. We wish his family solace and comfort during this extremely difficult time.”

The accident remained under investigation by Linden police, and anyone with information regarding the crash is urged to contact Investigator Jimmy Solano at 908-474-8505.