Probe into cop’s driving record moved out of Union County
NEWARK (AP) — The New Jersey investigation into a police officer who was behind the wheel in a fatal wrong-way crash that killed another officer and a civilian has been moved to another prosecutor's office.
Linden Police Officer Pedro Abad Jr. was critically injured in the March 20 crash on the West Shore Expressway in Staten Island, New York, as was a third officer. Public records show the six-year police veteran has been in eight accidents since 2005 and arrested twice for drunken driving in the last four years.
The prosecutor's office in Union County, which includes Linden, said Monday it would not be conducting the probe into Abad's driving record and employment history with the police force. The office said in a statement it wanted to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.
The investigation will be handled by the Middlesex County prosecutor, the state attorney general's office said.
Linden Police Officer Frank Viggiano and civilian Joseph Rodriguez were killed in the crash. A police spokesman said Abad and fellow Officer Patrik Kudlac remained hospitalized in critical but stable condition Monday.
Abad was arrested in Roselle in January 2011 after his car crashed into a building, a police report said. He was issued a summons for DUI and reckless driving but the case ended with him ever being cited or charged with a violation, the state Motor Vehicle Commission said.
Thirteen months later, Abad was charged with DUI in Rahway. A police dashboard camera video showed him weaving, wobbling and slurring his words as he tried to complete a field sobriety test. In that case, his license was suspended from October 2013 to May 2014.
A judge required Abad to fit his car with an ignition interlock, which won't allow a vehicle to start until the driver blows into a device to measure his blood-alcohol level and is deemed sober. The interlock device was removed in September, the commission said.
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