A man who was under the influence of drugs when he caused a crash that killed a northern New Jersey police officer and later pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Michael Cassella (Morris County Prosecutor's Office)

Thirty-year-old Michael Cassella of Howell was sentenced Friday. He had pleaded guilty in January in the October 2011 crash on Route 80 in Roxbury that killed Mount Arlington officer Joseph Wargo.

Cassella was under the influence of heroin and other drugs when he lost control of his vehicle. He crossed the median and crashed into Wargo's marked police cruiser.

The 38-year-old married officer was on routine patrol at the time.

Cassella must serve 17 years of his prison sentence before he becomes eligible for parole.


(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)