On the day of the accident, the 39-year-old suspect attended a family gathering at Tomahawk Lake in Sparta, New Jersey. The suspect allegedly spent a good portion of the day drinking alcohol.
The accident occurred while the suspect was returning from the gathering. According to the arrest affidavit, the suspect told police that he was driving on Route 15 South in Jefferson when he lost control of his 2002 Ford Explorer. Police said that the suspect was driving at a high rate of speed.
The suspect crashed onto private property located next to the highway. This caused several passengers to be ejected from the vehicle.
Tragically, three people died as a result of the drunk driving accident: the suspect’s 62-year-old mother-in-law, his 11-year-old stepdaughter, and a 36-year-old woman who was pregnant.
The suspect and the other passengers in the vehicle sustained injuries of varying degrees.
Law enforcement later administered a blood alcohol test and determined that the suspect’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was between .15 and .24 percent. Authorities believe that his BAC was at least twice the legal limit at the time of the fatal accident.
Now the suspect is set to be sentenced after pleading guilty in the case. He recently appeared in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown NJ and pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide, assault by auto, and driving while intoxicated (DWI).
When the suspect is sentenced on May 29, he faces up to 61 years in New Jersey State Prison. He could also be fined as much as $550,000.
However, as part of the plea deal, Morris County prosecutors plan to recommend that the suspect receive a sentence of 20 years in state prison. In any case, since the manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges are subject to the No Early Release Act, the suspect will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he becomes eligible for parole.
At this time, the suspect remains free on bail. While he is out on bail, he is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle.
For further information about this case, read the DailyRecord.com article entitled “Man Pleads Guilty in Fatal Jefferson DWI Crash Killing 3 Family Members.”