The scary accident occurred in early November 2015, shortly after a high school football game at Shore Regional High School in West Long Branch, NJ. The police officer who sustained injuries in the crash was directing traffic after the sporting event.
According to Monmouth County prosecutors, the 21-year-old suspect got high on heroin and marijuana before taking his vehicle, a 2010 Hyundai Elantra, onto the road in West Long Branch, New Jersey. Not long after getting on Parker Road, the suspect allegedly struck the West Long Branch police officer who was directing traffic.
The car accident left the West Long Branch cop with serious injuries, including physical damage to his head, face, shoulder, and knee. Afterwards, the injured officer was rushed to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune NJ, where doctors treated him for his accident-related injuries. The officer remained in the hospital for several days before he was sent to a rehab facility. While the police officer continues to undergo rehabilitation, therapy, and treatment, he is on medical leave from his job with the West Long Branch Police Department.
The suspect was not initially placed under arrest or charged in connection with the auto accident. However, the West Long Branch Police Department, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Monmouth County Serious Collision Analysis Response Team conducted an extensive investigation into the car crash. Investigators eventually determined that the suspect was likely operating his vehicle while under the influence of drugs.
The suspect recently surrendered to authorities. On the heels of the investigators’ findings, the suspect has been charged with assault by auto. Additionally, the suspect has been cited for several traffic violations, including Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUI), reckless driving, and failure to comply with the direction of an officer.
If the suspect is convicted on the most serious charge of assault by auto, he could be subject to severe penalties. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(c), a person commits a second degree felony if they operate an automobile on school property and cause serious bodily injury to someone else. Since the suspect is accused of committing assault by auto in a school zone, his potential penalties can be enhanced and a conviction could result in a sentence of 5-10 years in NJ State Prison.
After being charged in the case, the suspect secured his release from police custody by posting a $25K bail amount. He will still have to answer the charges against him in Monmouth County Superior Court in Freehold, New Jersey.
For more information about this DUI accident case, read the following article: Driver who hit cop directing traffic was high on drugs, police said