A motor vehicle collision caused the death of the mother of Senator Raymond Lesniak’s former political consultant and campaign manager, who is notorious for orchestrating a contract killing of an associate.
Police suspect that Diane P. Caddle, 72, of Flanders, may have died behind the wheel of her black 2012 Kia Sorento SUV shortly before crossing into oncoming traffic and colliding with a black 2019 Nissan Sentra.
Police investigating the fatal car crash, which occurred mid-afternoon Monday, Feb. 27, say the SUV that Diane Caddle was driving “crossed over the centerline of Munsonhurst Road/CR517 while traveling northbound and struck” the Sentra operated by Suehilah Hassan, a 20-year-old Sparta resident.
The collision caused police to shut down the road from Route 23 in Franklin to Kennedy Avenue in Ogdensburg. Hassan suffered a broken wrist and what police described as “suspected serious injuries.”
“This car accident was a reality check. Thank God I am okay with only a broken wrist and some cuts,” said Hassan, a Criminal Justice student at County College of Morris. “Let this be a reminder to all that life is short. “
“Take that risk, challenge yourself, fight for what you deserve, smile and laugh like it’s the last, hold your loved ones close,” said Hassan. “Thank God for another day. May the person who has crashed into me rest in peace.”
Sources said a women was on the phone with Diane Caddle at the time of the accident heard a deep gasp, followed by a moment of total silence until the accident sent a loud bang through the transmitter.
The caller said that there was about 15 seconds of silence between the gasp and the accident. One officer said Hassan told police the driver was slumped over the wheel when her SUV crossed the yellow line. Authorities believe the victim suffered a cardiac arrest and possibly even died before the collision.
Diane Caddle’s son, Sean Caddle, admitted to hiring two men to kill an associate, Jersey City political operative Michael Gladieri in 2014.
Sean Caddle was hired by Lesniak, then a state senator representing Elizabeth, Union, Hillside and Roselle who nearly lost his seat in the 2011 Democratic primary election because he lost touch with those communities after attaining power and prestige as a statewide political boss.
Sean Caddle was manager of Lesniak’s feeble and ill-fated campaign for governor in 2017, when the politician came in fourth behind two first-time candidates and a Middlesex County assemblyman who is 15 years younger.
He was also the lawmaker’s principal campaign consultant on a variety of projects including the 2014 Bayonne mayoral election and an unsuccessful attempt to dislodge Orange Mayor Dwayne D. Warren. Warren was employed as an attorney at Wiener Lesniak, the senator’s law firm, before relations soured and he lost his job.
Since 2012, Lesniak paid Caddle and his consulting company a millions of dollars to run a number of political campaigns through various entities including a dark money super PAC, the Committee for Economic Growth and Social Justice.
Caddle pleaded guilty to his role in Galdieri’s murder in January, 2022, but his sentencing has been postponed three times, now scheduled for March 22nd, 2023. In interviews, Lesniak said that Caddle was on the phone with him only hours before he entered the plea in his criminal case.
After pleading guilty on Jan. 25 to conspiracy to commit murder for hire, Caddle was released on bail nut he is expected to receive a sentence between 12½ and 25 years in prison.
Political observers following the case are also awaiting the upcoming sentencing of Tony Teixeira, who was employed as chief of staff to Lesniak and New Jersey Senate President Nicholas “No-Show Nick” Scutari until he pleaded guilty to conspiring with Sean Caddle to defraud various campaigns, non profit organizations and political action committees (PACs) out of more than $100,000.
Teixeira served as Lesniak’s chief of staff between January 2013 and January 2018, when he was hired as chief of staff to Scutari.