NJ cop in fatal wrong-way DWI wanted a year in prison — judge gives him the max
NEW YORK — A former Linden police officer will spend up to 25 years in prison for a wrong-way crash that killed a fellow officer and another man in what prosecutors said was the result of extreme intoxication.
WABC says Pedro Abad had sought the minimum sentence of a year behind bars. The judge on Staten Island gave him the maximum on Wednesday — eight and one-third to 25.
Abad worked for the Linden Police Department in 2015 when he crashed into a tractor-trailer after a night at a Staten Island strip club with friends. Abad's blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit.
The March 2015 crash on West Shore Expressway in Staten Island killed fellow officer Officer Frank Viggiano, 28, and Linden resident Joseph Rodriguez, 28. Another officer, Patrik Kudlac, 25, was seriously injured.
Investigators said Abad was driving 73 mph the wrong way when he crashed into a truck.
Abad had tried to claim that he might have been drugged against his will, but the defense was never able to prove this.
Police Chief Jonathan Parham on Wednesday afternoon released this statement regarding the sentencing:
"Abad had his day in court, and whether he serves a year, or a hundred years; lives were forever altered on that day. We continue to pray for Frank and Joe, their families, and all those affected by this tragedy."
Abad maintained a high profile before and during the trial — sharing online photos of him returning to one of the bars he and his friends had visited that fateful night, and reading passages from the Bible to reporters outside the Staten Island courthouse.
During the sentencing, relatives of his victims — particularly Rodriguez's sister — blasted Abad for his insensitivity, according to a reporter who was in the courtroom Wednesday:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.