Being a New Jersey DWI defense attorney, I can say that anytime a drunk driving arrest is connected to a motor vehicle accident things are going to be more complicated than a simple drunken driving traffic stop. This is not to say that being pulled over for driving while intoxicated is a walk in the park, but property damage and potential personal injury only make a DWI defense more involved.
Understanding that hitting another car while inebriated will complicate your life, consider recent news reports that described a man who allegedly struck a vehicle driven by a Middlesex County policeman. To make things worse for the driver, he had already been convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol four separate times in the past. Multiple offenses and hitting a police officer — not the best of circumstances to say the least.
According to the news, 43-year-old David Bennett was charged with multiple offenses after his vehicle apparently drifted over the double-yellow center line along Fresh Ponds Road hitting a light truck being driven by 37-year-old Laszlo Nyitrai, a South Brunswick officer who happened to be driving to work at the instant.
As a result of the impact, Bennett’s vehicle forced the officer’s truck off the road and into a nearby tree. According to reports, the crash resulted in minor injuries to Bennett, a passenger riding with him, and Officer Nyitrai. Police reports show that Bennett suffered facial injuries and his passenger, 49-year-old Kevin McCarthy, sustained several broken ribs. Officer Nyitrai received minor injuries including bruised to his chest and sprained wrist.
The crash reportedly occurred just before 2pm as Nyitrai was driving southbound on Fresh Ponds Road just past Selma Drive. Bennett’s Ford Taurus was headed northbound when it crossed the centerline, hitting the patrolman’s truck.
Police arriving on the scene reportedly questioned Bennett and noticed that he had an odor of alcohol on his breath. Police reports also show that the man exhibited watery and bloodshot eyes as well as slurring of the speech.
An investigation team determined that prior to the crash Bennett’s vehicle had allegedly been driven off of the roadway for “at least a half-mile” due to evidence of trees and roadside signs that had supposedly been struck along the way, according to police.
Bennett was charged with two counts of assault by auto, DWI, reckless driving, failure to stay in his lane and failure to have a court ordered interlocking device in his vehicle. At the time of the news article, he was being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in lieu of $17,500 bail.
SOUTH BRUNSWICK: Off-duty police officer injured by alleged drunken driver, CentralJersey.com, September 15, 2010