The Mosqueras of Union City are suing the city of Union City, Hudson County, the state, and the driver of the van, 49-year-old Alejandro Rodriguez of Lodi.
The civil action was filed last week. Attorney Rosemarie Arnold said the city, county and state have been named because of their failure to address the dangers of that particular roadway despite the amount of accidents that continue to occur.
"We're asking for remuneration for the cause of pain and suffering of Baby Mosquera, and damages to her mother for the loss and wrongful death of her daughter," said Arnold.
The Mosqueras have said they merely seek justice for the loss of their beloved daughter, although it will never take away their pain.
"For these things there is no time frame, not months, not years; the pain remains the same," said Marguerite Mosquera.
She added, "That is why I'm calling the papers, because I want to know how this man can be so calm when my family and my children [Brian, 7, and Justin, 6] are all suffering. I want him to at least feel what we do."
Mosquera's turmoil comes after the grand jury returned a decision of no indictment on the criminal charges against Rodriguez.
"I find it disgraceful and despicable that this happened," said Arnold.
On Sept. 14, Katherine's Godmother, Grace Beliz, was pushing Katherine across the Bergen Turnpike in her stroller. However, Beliz was not crossing at the intersection, and eyewitnesses claimed she had crossed between two parked cars.
The driver, Rodriguez, was coming down from the busy intersection of 32nd Street and Kennedy Blvd. According to eyewitnesses, the van struck Beliz and sent the stroller flying through the air and flung the toddler onto the street.
"The vehicle was headed west on the Bergen Turnpike from Kennedy Boulevard, and the woman was crossing from the south to north side of the street when she was struck at approximately 12:44 p.m.," said Chief of Police Charles Everett in September.
Rodriguez, who suffered no injuries, pulled over a few feet down from the accident.
Beliz suffered extensive injuries and was rushed to Jersey City Medical Center, and Katherine was pronounced dead at the scene.
During the investigation, police found that Rodriguez, who was uninsured, had tested positive for cocaine and marijuana, but the tests could not confirm if he was under the influence at the time of the accident. They only showed that he had used the narcotics recently.
After the Union City Police completed their investigation, Rodriguez was formally charged with vehicular homicide, and was arraigned on Nov. 10 at the Central Judicial Processing center (CJP) in Jersey City.
However, when the case was presented to the grand jury on April 11, they decided not to return an indictment.
"This means that they did not deem there was probable cause to believe that [Rodriguez] was driving the vehicle recklessly when the accident took place; this was their decision based on the evidence," said Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio.
The results of the criminal case, however, will not deter the civil case, where the plaintiffs must prove negligence as opposed to reckless operation.
Back to court
Although the civil suit will not be addressed in court for about year, it faults Union City, Hudson County and New Jersey for not addressing the dangerous roadway. It was their responsibility to control, supervise, and design safety improvements.
"What happened to baby Mosquera is a terrible tragedy, and if not for the negligence of the defendants, Mrs. Mosquera would still have her baby," said Arnold.
At the time of the accident, representatives of Hudson County claimed that they had long expressed concern over the adjacent intersection of 32nd Street and Kennedy Boulevard and had called for traffic improvement plans to the region prior to the accident.
"It wasn't until after the accident that they have cameras, new lights stop signs, and traffic lines, and the streets are still dangerous because there are still accidents occurring," said Mosquera.
As far as her feelings towards Rodriguez, Mosquera says all she wants is justice for her child.
"He hasn't even had one day of jail time," she said. "This was not an animal he killed. It was an innocent child. I feel so helpless and I just want justice, and not because I feel having him in jail will bring my daughter back. My daughter's never coming back, but there are still other innocent children in the street. That is my concern. He needs to be punished in some way, whether it's revoking his driving privileges or suspending them for a few months." Jessica Rosero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org