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Former Kearny Resident's Son Killed


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http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=e...3ZxZWVFRXl5Mg==

Father Andy. Graduated in the 70's.

Viewing tomorrow night (Wednesday)

Details in Star Ledger Obituaries (Tuesday)

The loss of any life is always heartbreaking but especially so with such a young life.

How very sad. I pray that this young man's family will find comfort celebrating their son's life, and in Go'd love for them.

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http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=e...3ZxZWVFRXl5Mg==

Father Andy. Graduated in the 70's.

Viewing tomorrow night (Wednesday)

Details in Star Ledger Obituaries (Tuesday)

article

Teen driver charged in dragging death

e-mail print The Record

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

By JASON TSAI

STAFF WRITER

A Lyndhurst teenager pleaded not guilty Monday to vehicular homicide charges for running over another 17-year-old outside the victim's home on Saturday night, authorities said.

The victim, Andrew J. Colamedici, was standing outside his Orient Way home, arguing with the driver of a Jeep Wrangler, when the vehicle took off, dragging Colamedici along with it, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said Monday.

Colamedici, a junior at Lyndhurst High School, was run over after letting go. He died less than an hour later at Passaic Beth Israel Hospital from massive head injuries, the prosecutor said.

Police found the Jeep several blocks away, Molinelli said. They traced it back to the driver and took him into custody the next day, he said.

Investigators have interviewed three witnesses, including two other people who Molinelli said were inside the Jeep and a woman who he said had been in the area.

However, he said the witnesses have given "conflicting stories" about what ignited the 10:30 p.m. incident.

"It's very hard to say what the argument was about," Molinelli said. "There was some sort of dispute and [Colamedici] didn't want the driver to leave."

Colamedici's relationship with the driver was unclear.

"I don't know whether they were friends, but they had previously known each other," Molinelli said. "They definitely knew of each other."

High school senior Ece Kulaksiz, 17, said Colamedici and the driver had a "decent and friendly" relationship.

"I definitely don't think it was anything intentional," she said about the incident.

A steady stream of visitors came to Colamedici's home on Monday. His parents declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the teenage driver -- whose name is being withheld by authorities because of his age -- pleaded not guilty Monday morning before state Family Court Judge Harold C. Hollenbeck to one count each of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle collision, Molinelli said.

The maximum penalty for an adult conviction of vehicular homicide is 30 years.

Molinelli said he had not decided Monday whether to seek to have the driver tried as an adult.

If he remains in the Family Court system, the prosecutor said, "any term he would get would be an indeterminate term based on rehabilitation. [He] would be processed and be interviewed and [we'd] make an assessment as to where he'll be placed."

The youth was released to his parents after being held at the Bergen County Juvenile Detention Center in Paramus, said his lawyer, John Bruno. Hollenbeck ordered him to be home-schooled until his next court appearance on March 13.

"This is someone with no prior criminal record, and because he's not a flight risk, he was remanded to his parents," Bruno said.

Neighbors on Monday spoke of Saturday night's police activity on Orient Way, a busy street with a mixture of single- and multifamily homes. But they had no idea what it was about.

"I saw a lot of police and big spotlights lighting up the street," said one. "There were four, five patrol cars, an officer kneeling on the ground looking at something. The street was blocked off."

An Orient Way neighbor recalled "Andy" Colamedici, a lifelong Lyndhurst resident and member of the Lyndhurst Youth Soccer League and Knights of Columbus, as helpful.

"He was a polite, fine young man," said the neighbor, who did not want to be identified.

"He was a go-getter. He would ring your doorbell and ask if you wanted your walk shoveled."

Classmates called Colamedici by his middle name, James, said Kulaksiz.

She remembered him as a soccer-obsessed teenager who was always quick with a joke.

"It only took a few words from him to make us smile," Kulaksiz said. "I can't think of anyone that disliked him. He was everyone's friend."

Staff Writer Justo Bautista contributed to this article. E-mail: tsai@northjersey.com

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