Regardless of whether you live in Burlington, Ocean, Monmouth or Passaic County, being charged with DWI where others were injured or killed can be quite serious. As New Jersey runk driving defense lawyers, I and my staff are concerned with representing those individuals who have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, either by alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), such as prescription medication, marijuana or other illicit drug.
In some cases, a charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Drug DUI) can be combined with other serious charges, like vehicular homicide or assault by a motor vehicle. Unlike being arrested in connection with a minor traffic violation, these kinds of offense — fatal DWIs and drug DUIs — bring with them serious consequences if the defendant is convicted.
Such a case was initiated against a resident of Maple Shade, NJ, following a fatal car crash back in 2009. According to reports, 28-year-old Steven Ford was indicted not long ago by a Burlington County grand jury for the deaths of two people in Mount Laurel. In that crash, police charged the man with intoxicated driving in addition to two counts of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide, and one count of fourth-degree assault by auto.
According to news reports, the fatal car accident took place on a Sunday afternoon along a stretch of Rte 38. Police reports indicate that Ford was driving his pickup truck in a westerly direction on Rte 38 at an allegedly high speed just prior to losing control fo the vehicle. The truck allegedly hit the curb of the grass center median, which caused the vehicle to be launched into the eastbound lanes of traffic. The pickup crashed into a sport utility vehicle and then a box truck.
A 22-year-old woman riding in Ford’s vehicle was critically injured in the wreck and later died of her injuries at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, NJ. Sixty-three-year-old Jean L. Bernard, who was driving the sport utility vehicle reportedly died from her injuries at the accident scene.
After turning himself in to authorities, Ford posted a reported $250,000 in bail. Based on news reports, a major condition of the man’s bail was that he not operate a motor vehicle, drink any alcoholic beverages or ingest any controlled dangerous substances. Should the man be convicted of the charges, Ford could expect a maximum prison sentence of 60 years.
Stephen Ford of Maple Shade indicted for DWI accident that caused in two deaths, NewJerseyNewsroom.com, December 17, 2010