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Allegedly drunk New Jersey driver charged in death of passenger

An allegedly drunk driver from New Jersey caused an accident in Woodbridge that killed his passenger. The driver is a 24-year-old resident of North Plainfield, and his passenger was a 25-year-old man from the same area. The two men were traveling in the southbound New Jersey Turnpike truck lanes in a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta near the 93.5 mile marker when the accident occurred.

New Jersey State Police report that the driver hit the rear of a tractor-trailer truck in front of him due to his alleged intoxication. The force of the impact caused the 25-year-old passenger in the front seat to die from blunt-force trauma. The coroner pronounced the passenger dead at 4:39 a.m., shortly after the 4:09 a.m. accident. Police did not report whether either of the men were wearing seat belts.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office charged the driver with driving while intoxicated as well as death by auto. The driver was sent to jail on Oct. 19 on bail of $250,000, and New Jersey State Police have launched an official investigation into the accident. No details about the condition of the tractor-trailer driver have been released.

The results of the police investigation may have a significant impact on whether the family of the deceased 25-year-old passenger pursue a civil lawsuit against the driver. Even if the criminal charges against the driver are overturned, the victim’s family may still choose to pursue compensation for the loss of a loved one. Police report that the driver was in the truck lane while driving a car, which an attorney may be able to use as evidence of negligent behavior in a potential wrongful death case.

Source: NJ.com, “Driver charged with DWI after crash kills passenger in Woodbridge“, Anthony G. Attrino, October 20, 2014

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