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Prosecutor: off-duty cop was drunk driving in fatal accident

A Staten Island prosecutor has announced the toxicology results of testing on an off-duty police officer from a neighboring state. The officer was behind the wheel on a New York city highway on March 20 when his car crashed into a tractor trailer, killing two of his passengers and critically injuring another. The results show the man had a .24 blood alcohol reading, which is three times higher than the threshold legal limit of .08. The prosecutor did not comment on whether there would be criminal charges against the officer in this fatal accident.

However, the officer's prior record shows two drunk driving arrests in the past four years. Under the circumstances, those injured and killed in the two-vehicle crash have civil damages claims against the defendant. The victims include also the tractor-trailer driver, who was injured with non life-threatening injuries.

One officer and one civilian passenger in the defendant's vehicle were killed in the crash. The defendant and another police officer passenger were critically injured. The off-duty cops were from the Linden, New Jersey Police Department. They had just left a strip bar in New York when the defendant took his vehicle up the off ramp of an exit on a Staten Island highway. He was heading in the wrong direction when he crashed head-on into the tractor trailer.

The circumstances of this fatal accident, along with photos of the group drinking at the strip club, make it a clear case for civil liability against the defendant officer. However, the big issue in such cases is whether sufficient insurance can be found to fund the settlements. The injured persons, and the family of the two decedents, should check their own policies to determine the amount of underinsured motorists coverage that was purchased. Additionally, if the officer was driving a vehicle owned by the police department, a claim against the police for negligent entrustment may be considered under New York law.

Source:, "Prosecutor: Off-duty New Jersey officer was driving drunk in wrong-way NYC crash that killed 2", April 27, 2015

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