A New Jersey police officer was arrested on Monday after killing two people, including a fellow police officer, and critically injuring a third in a DUI car crash. Charged in a 27-count indictment, including vehicular manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, and aggravated vehicular assault, the officer faces up to 25 years in prison. Although the officer has been involved in at least nine crashes, he has only been charged with drunk driving three times.
After leaving Curves strip club on the morning of March 20, Linden Police Officer Pedro Abad was allegedly driving drunk and going the wrong way on the West Shore Expressway when his vehicle collided head-on into a tractor-trailer. Two of Abad’s passengers, Linden Police Officer Frank Viggiano and civilian Joseph Rodriguez, were killed in the crash. Another passenger, Linden Police Officer Patrik Kudlac, was critically injured.
At 4:51 a.m., police received a 911 call reporting the crash. After testing Abad’s blood alcohol content (BAC), police discovered that the off-duty officer was nearly three times over the legal limit. Hours before the fatal crash, Abad had foolishly posted a photo on Instagram of three shot glasses filled with “Jack Daniels Fire on the house.”
Prior to the West Shore Expressway collision, Abad had been involved in eight crashes and had been charged twice with drunk driving. In January 2011, Abad was charged with driving under the influence after plowing through the wall of a convenience store in Roselle, New Jersey. According to the police report, his car “put a hole completely through the building.”
The charges were dismissed after authorities failed to turn over evidence. Although Municipal Court Judge Carl Marshall had ordered state and borough authorities to turn over the evidence, including State Police reports about blood-alcohol testing and tapes of police transmissions, they refused.
Recorded on dash cam video at 5:10 a.m. on February 26, 2013, Abad was charged with DUI after failing a field sobriety test after crashing his car in Rahway, New Jersey. While slurring his speech and losing his balance, Abad repeatedly ignored officers’ commands and begged to be released when he noticed his classmate from the academy at the scene. According to the state Motor Vehicle Commission, the case did not conclude in any citations or violations.
On Monday, Abad was arrested and charged with 27 counts, including vehicular manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, and aggravated vehicular assault. Confronted with a mountain of evidence against him, Abad pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.