NEW YORK – Toxicology results show that an off-duty New Jersey officer behind the wheel in a wrong-way crash that killed another officer and a friend on a New York City highway was drunk, a Staten Island prosecutor said Monday.
Tests show Linden Officer Pedro Abad's blood alcohol content was 0.24; the legal limit in New York is 0.08. Chief Assistant District Attorney Daniel Master wouldn't comment on possible charges against the officer stemming from the March 20 crash.
Linden Officer Frank Viggiano and friend Joe Rodriguez were killed; Abad and Officer Patrik Kudlac were critically injured.
Authorities say Abad crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer after leaving a Staten Island strip club. The truck driver suffered injuries that weren't considered life-threatening.
There was no immediate response to an email seeking comment from the union representing Linden police officers.
Investigators had applied for a warrant to test Abad's blood shortly after the accident. Hours before the crash, Abad had posted a photo on his Instagram page of three shot glasses filled with what he identified as "Jack Daniels Fire on the house."
The photo included a caption of a toast he said he had given.
"The 3 of us, are decent people. There's a decent woman out there for each of us. Sure it's cool to be single every now and then, but I don't give a damn what ANYONE says. At the end of the day, I want a family. I want to settle down. We all do. So here's to finding that which we all hope for."
Abad had two drunken-driving arrests in the last four years, including one for an accident in which he plowed through the wall of a convenience store, records show.
He was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence in Roselle, New Jersey, in January 2011 after his car "put a hole completely through the building" housing a New Way Supermarket, a police report said. Abad was issued a summons for DUI and reckless driving, but apparently the case didn't conclude in any citations or violations, the state Motor Vehicle Commission said.
Thirteen months later, Abad was charged with DUI in Rahway, New Jersey. A police dashboard camera video showed him weaving, wobbling and slurring his words as he attempted to complete a field sobriety test.
Abad's driver's license was suspended after the second arrest, beginning in October 2013 and concluding in May 2014, the Motor Vehicle Commission said. A judge then required Abad to fit his car with an ignition interlock, which won't allow a vehicle to start until the driver blows into a device to measure his blood-alcohol level and is deemed sober. The interlock device was removed last September, the commission said.
Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.