Man accused of killing elderly couple in DWI crash had 5 license suspensions
READINGTON — The man accused of drunkenly plowing his vehicle into another car Friday — killing two grandparents and injuring a father and two children — has lost his license five times before.
Several of 23-year-old Frank Cabezas' license suspensions were connected to drinking and driving or related charges. He's also been ticketed for speeding, careless driving and failure to observe a traffic control signal.
And Cabezas has had several other run-ins with police in Hunterdon County, according to court records. Those incidents included allegations of theft, of threatening to kill someone, and of drug possession.
One of his motor vehicle stops made headlines in local news publications when, in August 2012, at the age of 19, Cabezas was found only in his underwear while driving a friend to a liquor store, Flemington police reportedly said at the time. That incident lead to the third and fourth suspensions of his driving career — 210 days for refusing to submit to a chemical test, and 30 days for driving after underage drinking, according to a spokesperson for the state Motor Vehicle Commission.
Hunterdon County authorities say a family was on the way home from an Easter Egg hunt Friday when Cabezas's Ford Explorer struck their Toyota Camry on Route 523 head-on. Cabezas, of Whitehouse Station, is charged with second-degree death by auto and three counts of fourth-degree assault by auto in addition to drunk and reckless driving charges.
"This is a terrible tragedy that changed the lives of this family in a split second as they returned home from an Easter egg hunt," Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns III said Saturday.
Cabezas was the only person not injured in the collision Friday, authorities said.
The impact killed Flemington Frank Corso, 79, and his wife, Audrey Corso, 75. Their son, Gregory Corso, 43, of Budd Lake, was hospitalized at Morristown Medical Center with minor injuries, Kearns said. His 5-year-old son, Matthew, who was in a booster in the back seat, was treated and released from the same hospital. Matthew's 10 year-old sister, Marissa, had to be flown by helicopter to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick and be treated with a possibly broken femur.
A spokesperson for the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office said Monday he did not believe any of those who'd remained hospitalized Friday had since been released.
According to a report by NJ Advance Media, Cabezas' bail was revoked Monday.
Cabezas's past infractions resulting in license suspensions or motor-vehicle fines, according to the Motor Vehicle Commission, are as follows:
• March 21, 2010: Driving after underage drinking. This led to a suspension of 30 days effective June 7 of that year.
• Nov. 13, 2011: Failure to observe a traffic control device.
• Jan. 30, 2012: Speeding;l
• Aug. 8, 2012 (the incident in which he was found in his underwear): Refusal to submit to a chemical test and driving after underage drinking. This resulted in consecutive suspensions of 210 and 30 days, effective Jan. 7, 2013.
• Dec. 29, 2012: Failure to appear. This resulted in an indefinite suspension until the matter was resolved. Motor vehicle records to not indicate the underlying offense.
• Nov. 12, 2012: Speeding.
• Jan. 14, 2014: Failure to comply with a mandated drug or alcohol program. This resulted in an indefinite suspension until the matter was resolved.
• January 29, 2016: Careless driving.
Those records only include charges to which he pleaded or was found guilty.
Cabezas' criminal history, according to court records, includes a charge out of Readington in March 2012 of threatening to kill another, remanded to municipal court as anonymous communication at inconvenient hours later that year. In July of 2012, he faced charges of criminal attempt and theft by deception — the former was disposed of in municipal court and the latter dismissed by a prosecutor.
On July 31, 2013, he was charged with marijuana possession over 50 grams and conspiracy. A charge of possession of paraphernalia was dismissed with plea bargain. He served one day in jail and was later sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty. According to the NJ Advance Media report, Assistant Prosecutor Chris Vaccaro told Judge Angela Borkowski Monday Cabezas remained on probation for his 2013 drug charges, having been sentenced in that matter in May of 2014.
Neither local police nor the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office would provide details of those past incidents when contacted by New Jersey 101.5 Monday. Both cited the ongoing legal matter of Cabezas's most recent arrest in this weekend's crash.
Cabezas was also charged with possession of under 50 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia during a motor vehicle stop in Readington on Feb. 22 of this year — just a few weeks after his careless driving stop — according to a police press release issued at the time.