A New Jersey judge has denied a request to change the trial venue for a driver accused of causing a crash
that killed a northern New Jersey police officer last year.

Michael Cassella (Morris County Prosecutor's Office)

Twenty-nine-year-old Michael Cassella of Howell has pleaded not guilty to aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges in the death of Mount Arlington Officer Joseph Wargo.

The Star-Ledger reports that Cassella's attorneys wanted the trial moved outside of Morris County because of the case's notoriety and the officer's popularity, among other reasons.

Prosecutors say Cassella was driving under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance on Oct. 16 when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into Wargo's marked police cruiser on Route 80 in Roxbury.

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

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)