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Estate of crash victim wins over $3 million award

Last Thursday, the estate of a man killed in a 2007 accident in Middleton was awarded over $3 million by a jury in New Brunswick. That sounds like a pretty large award, but considering what was taken from the man's family, it hardly compares.

The man was reportedly killed on September 14, 2007 on route 35 North in Middleton when his vehicle was rear-ended by another vehicle driven by a 29-year-old Hazlet man. The victim was ejected from his SUV as a result of the accident and died from injuries he sustained. The man who crashed into him has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and drunken driving in connection with the crash.

The man who crashed into the victim was apparently an off-duty police officer who was driving his personal vehicle. At the time of the crash, he had a passenger in the vehicle. His passenger was uninjured by the crash, and he received only minor injuries. Sources said that the off-duty police officer was drinking under the influence at the time of the crash, and that his BAC was twice the legal limit.

He was sentenced to five year in state prison in February 2009 under a plea deal which required him to serve 85 percent of the sentence before parole eligibility. In addition to forfeiting his job as a state trooper, he was also barred from ever taking a public employment position in New Jersey again. He will also have his driver's license revoked for five years after his release from prison.

The man who rear-ended the victim and three taverns were all involved in the suit. The jury found that the off-duty officer was liable for 57 percent of the award, while the taverns-both in Red Bank-were liable for 33 percent and 10 percent of the award.

Source: Mycentraljersey.com, "Crash victim's estate awarded more than $3M," October 21, 2011.

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