A former Linden, New Jersey police officer has turned down a plea deal in reference to allegations that he was driving while intoxicated, and made a wrong turn, crashing head-on into a truck. The collision cost the lives of an off-duty officer, and another man, and caused two other off-duty patrolmen to suffer severe injuries. The tragic accident occurred in March 2015, on the West Shore Expressway in Staten Island.
Pedro Abad, age 28, had chosen to go to trial instead of accepting the plea deal. If he is convicted at trial, he could spend a maximum of 25 years in prison. He pleaded not guilty to an indictment of 27 counts, including several charges of aggravated vehicular homicide.
The crash took place a short time before 5 a.m. on March 20, 2015, while Mr. Abad was driving with three passengers in the vehicle. They were on their way home from Curves, a strip club in Staten Island. Officer Frank Viggiano, age 28, and Joseph Rodriguez, of Linden, also age 28, lost their lives. Another Linden officer, Patrick Kudlac, age 23 at the time, suffered severe injuries, as did Mr. Abad.
Officer Kudlac, who subsequently handed in his resignation to the police department due to his injuries, filed a lawsuit against the strip club and a Roselle bar called Central Park. Mr. Abad and others stopped at the bar before going to Staten Island. Mr. Rodriguez’s relatives also filed a lawsuit against the strip club and bar.
Mayor Derek Armstead recently said he was surprised that Mr. Abad opted to go to trial in light of all of the evidence, including accusations that the prior officer had a blood alcohol level of .24 at the time of the collision. Mr. Abad’s attorney has filed a motion to suppress any prior incidents, such as a post by Mr. Abad of a photo on social media of him and others consuming drinks at the Central Park bar.
If you were charged with DWI, contact criminal defense attorney William J. Connelly, III, who can work to have some or all of the evidence against you suppressed in order to mitigate fines and penalties, or in some instances, to have all charges against you dropped.