A Galloway Township man is jailed on charges he left the scene of a fatal accident in an Atlantic City crash that killed a man crossing Absecon Boulevard in a motorized scooter last week.
Leo Strazzeri, 42, is accused of fleeing after striking Daniel Tavarez, 45, who was heading to the store from his home at the High Gate Apartments to buy milk for a friend at 9:30 p.m. July 9.
Police found the car a short time later, unoccupied. Strazzeri was then found at his job at Revel, where he’s a dealer, and taken into custody. Police had him undergo blood and urine tests at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s City Campus. Such tests are routine following a fatal crash, police said at the time.
Strazzeri was then released pending further investigation. Atlantic City police arrested him Thursday afternoon, after acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain authorized the criminal charge. No details on where he was arrested were released.
Revel spokeswoman Maureen Siman said the casino “would not comment on the arrest of a professional.” She would not even confirm Strazzeri’s employment there.
“Clearly this was a tragic event for Mr. Tavarez’s family and friends,” defense attorney Steve Scheffler said. “But Mr. Strazzeri was not involved, and we will aggressively defend his interests in this case. He’s absolutely not guilty of what he’s been charged with.”
When asked whether that meant Strazzeri was not driving, Scheffler replied: “Yes.”
Strazzeri also faces several motor-vehicle violations, including failure to report an accident, careless driving, reckless driving, failure to exhibit a driver’s license, failure to exhibit a registration and being an uninsured motorist.
Scheffler decided against an immediate review of the bail, and Strazzeri remains jailed on $50,000 full cash. No court appearances are scheduled.
The arrest came a day after Tavarez’s sister, Marjorie Torres, urged the driver to turn himself in.
“I wish their conscience will be their guide” Torres said. “Give the family members some peace by turning themselves in.”
In a written statement, she said her brother “was known for helping his fellow neighbors and that he volunteered for the South Jersey AIDS Alliance.”
He leaves behind Richard Carozzoni, his companion of 25 years, and a granddaughter.
“These were things that were robbed from us by this selfish person,” Torres wrote. She could not be reached for comment following the arrest.
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Daniel Tavarez’s funeral is scheduled for Friday afternoon in Northfield.
A visitation is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Adams-Perfect Funeral Home, 1650 New Road, Northfield. The funeral service begins at 2 p.m. A repast will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the High Gate Apartments, 655 Absecon Blvd., where Tavarez and Torres lived.