North Bergen hit and run victim dies; Suspect arrested

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Renee Stoll has the latest updates from North Bergen. (WABC)

Authorities have made an arrest in a hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a New Jersey man and injured his younger brother.

Twenty-year-old Michael Viruet, Jr., died Thursday, just minutes after learning of the arrest. He had lost a leg and was in a medically-induced coma since the Nov. 14 incident at the corner of Kennedy Boulevard at 31st Street in North Bergen. His 11-year-old brother Adrian suffered brain damage, but he is still recovering.

Viruet was a full-time college student who helped out with the family business and his little brother.

The brothers had just seen a movie and were walking toward a pedestrian bridge when an SUV jumped a curb, struck them and took off.

After a lengthy search, the Hudson County Sheriff's Office identified the suspected driver as 38-year-old Rogelio Chavix-Tacen.

Investigators said Chavix-Tacen is an illegal resident and bought plane tickets to his native Guatemala, but never boarded the plane. The victims' family pleaded for him to surrender.

"I'm pleading with him, don't make this even worse than it is already, just give yourself up and just deal with the consequences," Michael Viruet, Sr., said. "My kids are dealing with his consequences. I think you should be man enough to deal with this."

The discovery of the vehicle that struck the boys at a body shop sparked a massive manhunt, and it reportedly took the work of seven agencies to locate the suspect. Chavix-Tacen was reportedly found hiding under a bed at a relative's house in Annapolis, Maryland. He is expected to be extradited to Hudson County, where he will be charged with death by auto, leaving the scene of an accident with critical injuries and aggravated assault by auto.

The arrest offered a bit of comfort to the grieving family, who said their oldest son was clinging to life so he could see his younger brother. And after they got the news, Michael passed moments later.

"They apprehended him at 7:15," Michael Viruet, Sr., said. "My 11-year-old son saw his brother from 7:20 to 7:40, and at 7:45, my son parted."

The family has no medical insurance and is asking for donations. Visit for more information.
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children hit by carhit and runhit and run accidentarrestNorth Bergen
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