Strip club, bar sued over NJ cop’s deadly wrong-way crash
The Roselle bar and the Staten Island strip club attended by the Linden cop who's been charged with drunkenly driving the wrong way on a highway and crashing into a truck, killing a fellow cop and a friend, are being sued.
Former Linden cop Patrik Kudlac, 25, and the family of Joseph Rodriguez, 28, a Linden resident who died in the crash, filed the lawsuits in Superior Court in Elizabeth against Central Park bar in Roselle and Curves in Staten Island.
The complaints say the bars served alcohol to Pedro Abad Jr. even though he was already visibly drunk. NJ.com first reported about the lawsuits Thursday.
Abad faces up to 25 years in prison if he is convicted of the aggravated vehicular homicide charges he's facing in New York.
Abad crashed the car March 20, 2015, on the West Shore Expressway in Staten Island after spending the evening with his friends at the two bars. Authorities say his blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit.
The crash also killed Linden Officer Frank Viggiano, 28.
The fatal crash scandalized the Linden Police Department, which had its internal affairs operations taken over by the Union County Prosecutor's Office this year. An investigation by prosecutors in neighboring Middlesex County found that the department was lax in disciplining Abad after his previous DWI arrests.
He was arrested in 2011 after he crashed his car through a building in Roselle. That charge, however, was dropped. In 2013 he pleaded guilty to DWI after an arrest in Rahway. His license was suspended for 180 days but he was still allowed to work as a patrolman.
In addition to the department takeover, Union County Acting Prosecutor Grace Park also ordered all police departments in the county to inform her office whenever an officer is arrested or charged with disorderly persons or municipal ordinance offenses or a DWI. Prosecutors already are notified when officers are charged with more serious indictable offenses.
Kudlac is being represented by David Wilkstrom Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins of Springfield.
The Rodriguez family is represented by Donald A. Caminiti of Breslin and Breslin in Hackensack. Filed in Superior Court in Elizabeth.
The two businesses could not be reached for comment Thursday.
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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.