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Mayor Derek Armstead Promises Investigation Of City’s Handling Of Officer With Drunk-Driving Arrests

LINDEN – Mayor Derek Armstead announced that an investigation will be started to look into the case of Officer Pedro Abad who was involved in a wrong-way crash last week on Staten Island that killed two passengers.

Reports of officer Abad’s prior drunk driving arrests also came forth after the incident in which another Linden officer and a Linden man died.

Armstead said that a complete and thorough investigation will be carried out to see what happens as well as of all the procedures and protocols that were followed or not followed when he was asked why Officer Pedro Abad remained on force despite the arrests and suspended license.

However, the department wants to get through the mourning process first as they lay the dead to rest. Funeral for 28-year-old Joseph Rodriguez, passenger in the accident, was held a day earlier and funeral for 28-year-old Linden Officer Frank Viggiano was held on 26 March, 2015.

The tragic incident took place last week on 20 March shortly before 5 a.m. when Abad was driving north in the southbound lanes of the West Shore Expressway in Staten Island. While going the worng-way, he collided head-on with a tractor-trailor.

A total of 4 people were present in the vehicle at the time of the crash. 27-year old fficer Abad, who was driving and 23-year-old Patrik Kudlac, a passenger in the vehicle, were both critically injured in the accident and remained in separate Staten Island hospitals. Two other passengers in the car died in the crash.

His past record shows that Abad was arrested and charged with driving under the influence on 26 February, 2013, when he struck a parked car in Rahway. His license was subsequently suspended until May 2014 and he was ordered to install an ignition interlock device in his vehicle until September 2014 by a judge.

Linden police was called by Rahway police to inform them about the DUI charge against Officer Abad.

Before that, Abad was involved in another incident in January 2011 when he crashed his car through the wall of a store in Rooselle while driving under the influence. That incident happened on the border of two municipalities and three Linden police officers responded to the accident spot.

This charge was later dismissed and Roselle municipal court records do not state the reason of dismissal. According to Borough officials, the case file was not immediately available.

Spokesman Mark Spivey was asked whether the Union County Prosecutor’s office would be part of an investigation of the Linden Police Department’s handling of Abad; he replied that the office does not comment or provide details for any active and on-going investigations. No information on confirmation or denial of their status or existence can be provided.

PBA representatives and Linden police also declined to comment on Abad’s case.

Linden police Capt. James Sarnicki passed a statement saying, “We do not want the memory of Officer Viggiano tarnished by negative publicity as we seek to comfort his family and loved ones.”

No further comments were provided by the department, by Linden PBA president Joseph Birch and State PBA president Patrick Colligan. However, the department stated that it would continue to provide police services to its more than 40,000 residents in a professional manner.

News Source: www.NJ.com



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