On-duty and off, New Jersey law enforcement officers are held to higher standards than the general public. After all, they understand the law better than anyone else and have the responsibility to set a good example for their fellow community members. In instances where a police officer is involved in an automobile accident, for instance, he or she should do the right thing and stay at the incident site in order to administer any necessary assistance to injury victims and report the incident.
Reporting a serious injury accident immediately after it occurs can save lives, as prompt emergency medical care is crucial in effectively treating many life-threatening injuries. It is partly for that reason that leaving the scene of an injury collision is illegal in the state of New Jersey. Unfortunately, that did not stop one Paterson police officer from leaving the scene of a recent automobile accident that ultimately proved to be fatal.
The incident allegedly occurred around 8:30 p.m. on a weeknight when the police officer, who was off duty at the time, struck a 23-year-old pedestrian at a corner. It was not stated how authorities were able to determine that the officer in question was involved in the incident, since he left the accident site. However, it was noted that the suspect was in his own vehicle at the time of the collision. The accident victim succumbed to his injuries at an area hospital.
Several emergency response teams reportedly responded to the fatal collision, and the incident investigation was being conducted by the county prosecutor’s office. The suspect was charged with leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident resulting in death. He pleaded not guilty to the charge against him.
Source: NorthJersey.com, “Paterson police officer charged with leaving accident that killed pedestrian,” Richard Cowan and Stephanie Dazio, June 17, 2015