New Jersey Law Enforcement’s Pursuit of Drunken Drivers Unlikely to Abate

We see it quite frequently; the various anti-drunk driving campaigns accompanied by enhanced enforcement, such as saturation patrols during major holidays and late-night sobriety roadblocks on the weekends. In short, the apparent war on intoxicated motorists continues at a fairly regular and deliberate pace here in the Garden State. As New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, we know from experience that local police and state patrol officers take their roles very seriously when it comes to pursuing those drivers who may be inebriated behind the wheel.

Some drivers find themselves pulled over in the middle of traffic simply because they appeared to be wandering in their lane, when the reason could have been a minor distraction in the vehicle. Others might end up being flagged off the road at one of the many random roadside DWI checkpoints that seem to pop up at the most inopportune times. Regardless of the circumstances, however, if an office suspects a motorist to be even a slight bit drunk or otherwise impaired by alcohol or prescription drugs — never mind illegal substances like marijuana or cocaine — the gloves will come off an a much more intensive investigation will typically commence.

Of course, sometimes the police have reason to be suspicious of a driver’s condition, much less his motivation to avoid being picked up by officers for whatever kind of offense. Considering the reputation that New Jersey’s police have when drunk driving or drug DUI is involved, some people with a lot to lose will test the will of those law enforcement officers. Take the story of a Hamilton, NJ, driver who attempted to run from police following an alleged drunken driving accident along a portion of Interstate 95 last December.

According to news reports, a 19-year-old driver and several friends were traveling along the interstate early in the morning of December 12 when the man reportedly lost control of his Volkswagen GTS and slammed into the rear end of a parked 18-wheeler on the right-hand shoulder of the highway. Police accident investigators believed that the car was going southbound on I-95 in the center lane when the crash took place. Police officials stated that the driver apparently lost control of the car while attempting to negotiate a curve in the Lawrence Twp. area.

As the vehicle went out of control, according to the article, it rotated clockwise as it left the expressway, jumped the curb and entered the acceleration lanes leading from Rte 1. Because of the vehicle’s orientation, the passenger side struck the back end of the tractor-trailer rig, which police said was legally parked on the shoulder.

As a result of the impact, two female passengers in the rear seat — a 20-year-old and an 18-year-old — were killed. Another passenger, a 19-year-old man in the front passenger seat, survived the collision and was taken to the Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton; however, doctors could not save his life, and he died from his injuries later that afternoon.

Based on police reports, the driver fled from the scene. Police later located the man and arrested him for underage drunken driving, though police did not provide the exact blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the news article. The driver was himself taken to the hospital. When later discharged, the man was taken into custody by police and placed in the Mercer County Correction Center. County prosecutors told reporters that the man was being charged with several counts of death by auto, as well as leaving the scene of a fatal car crash. The court set the man’s bail at $1 million.

Driver who fled crash that killed three charged with death by auto,, December 12, 2013

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