Charges upgraded in deadly North Bergen pedestrian strike; Driver on PCP

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Jim Dolan is live in North Bergen with the latest details.

New charges have been added against the driver accused of jumping a curb and killing two teenagers in North Bergen after prosecutors say testing showed he was high on PCP, all while family and friends are gathering to bid final farewells to the victims.

A wake is being held Friday for 16-year-old Neol Herrera at the Rivera Funeral Home on Kennedy Boulevard, with a funeral and burial set for Saturday morning.

Bryan Rodriguez, 17, was also killed in the crash.

The suspect, 23-year-old Eric Patterson, is now facing upgraded charges of first-degree aggravated manslaughter. The Jersey City man was charged with death by auto and assault by auto after the crash Saturday night.

Authorities say Patterson was driving 74 mph in a 25 mph zone when his car went over a curb and hit the two teens on the sidewalk. Another teen, 17-year-old Manuel Sanchez, was injured in the crash. He spoke to Eyewitness News from his hospital bed at Jersey City Medical Center, going over the painful details of watching his best friends die right in front of him.

"I want to say that even though they're not here with me, they are always in my heart," he said. "I'm always going to cherish the good moments we had together. The fun times we had. Silly times we had together."

According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, Patterson has 23 suspensions on his driving record and 14 violations, including for speeding and an open container in a vehicle.

Officials say he currently has an indefinite suspension on his license and has not had driving privileges restored since September of 2014.
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