Drink and drive in the Garden State and one risks being caught and cited for DWI and possibly other traffic violations. Get behind the wheel after several drinks and cause an accident: the fines and potential liability could cost you big. But drive while intoxicated, cause a car or pedestrian accident, and then leave the scene of the crash? Anyone who finds themselves in such a situation should think twice about running from the law, but the best advice would probably be to not even take that first drink.
Hit-and-run can be a pretty serious charge, especially when injuries or fatalities are involved. Local and state police, not to mention our court system, are not very sympathetic to motorists who cause a traffic collision while legally intoxicated. As New Jersey drunken driving defense attorneys, I and my staff of experienced DWI lawyers know the law, and we are well aware of the stiff drunk driving penalties that can be levied against a defendant following a DWI or drug DUI conviction.
Not long ago, a motorist from Rutherford, NJ, was involved in a roadway collision over in Bergen County in the wake of which a woman from Kearny was left in critical condition. According to police, the alleged perpetrator left the scene of the accident after the man’s vehicle reportedly struck 44-year-old Zoila Diaz, who was crossing E. Passaic Ave. The collision took place later on a Tuesday night in April. News reports indicate that a person happening by after the crash noticed the woman lying in the middle of the street, not far from Meadow Rd.
Authorities determined that this particular pedestrian accident likely occurred very close to 11:30pm on April 24. Applying forensic techniques, the Fatal Accident Investigation Unit connected to the Bergen County prosecutor’s office, in cooperation with the Rutherford PD, determined that Diaz was hit by a vehicle apparently making a left turn onto East Passaic from the north-bound portion of Meadow Rd. Officials knowledgeable with the case stated that the woman was also run over by the vehicle, as well as being knocked to the ground.
Police investigators, acting on information from the public, traced the vehicle — which authorities believed to be an older ’90s Jeep Comanche pickup truck — to a 24-year-old resident of Rutherford, New Jersey. Police arrested the man several days later, charged him and then released the suspect on $25,000 bail.
The driver was accused of striking the victim as she crossed the street, sending the woman to Hackensack University Medical Center. Almost a week after the crash, the victim was reportedly still in critical condition.
Based on news reports, the suspect had been arrested a little over three years ago after he reportedly drove his truck into a utility pole in a single-vehicle traffic accident. In that wreck, the man was operating his vehicle along a section of roadway during the early morning hours and reportedly lost control of the vehicle, plowing into a lamppost and a number of city parking meters.
In that particular instance, police stated that the driver left the scene of the accident only to be caught by officers just one block away. He reportedly failed a sobriety test at that time and was charged with DWI, careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. The man pleaded guilty to DWI in Rutherford, NJ, municipal court and was ordered to pay fines.
Rutherford man charged in hit-and-run, NorthJersey.com, May 1, 2012