The New Jersey State Police claim that a 24-year-old man was driving drunk when he was involved in a fatal collision in the early hours of Oct. 19. The North Plainfield resident has been charged with death by auto and DWI according to a representative of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office. The man's bail has been set at $250,000.
The events unfolded at approximately 4:09 a.m. in the southbound truck lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike near Woodbridge. According to a NJ State Police report, the man lost control of his sedan and struck the rear end of a tractor-trailer in the vicinity of mile marker 93.5.
The man's front seat passenger was declared dead at the scene by emergency services personnel. A Middlesex County coroner said that the 25-year-old North Plainfield man died as the result of severe blunt force trauma. The man charged with driving under the influence also suffered injuries in the accident, and he was transported by paramedics to an area medical facility to receive treatment. His injuries were described as being moderate in nature. A detective from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office assisted members of the NJ State Police with their investigation.
While the penalties for drunk driving in New Jersey can be severe when an accident results in death or serious injury, proving that alcohol consumption caused a collision may sometimes be challenging for prosecutors. A criminal defense attorney could argue that an accident was caused by poor road conditions or the erratic driving of other motorists, and they may call upon the assistance of accident reconstruction experts to support arguments that factors other than impairment could have played a part. An defense attorney may also scrutinize accident reports, police statements and eyewitness accounts for information that is misleading, contradictory or vague.
Source: NJ.com, "Driver charged with DWI after crash kills passenger in Woodbridge", Anthony G. Attrino, October 20, 2014