Watch CBS News

Linden, NJ, Officer Pleads Not Guilty In Deadly Wrong-Way Crash On Staten Island

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A New Jersey police officer is free on bond After pleading pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he was drunk behind the wheel in a wrong-way crash that killed two passengers, including a fellow police officer, and critically injured a third.

Linden Officer Pedro Abad surrendered to police and was arrested before he appeared in state court on Staten Island.

Abad was charged in a 27-count indictment with vehicular manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault and other crimes. If convicted on the top count, aggravated vehicular homicide, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

Linden, NJ, Officer Charged In Deadly Wrong-Way Crash On Staten Island

On crutches and sometimes in a wheelchair, Abad posted bail at $25,000 and left the courthouse climbing into the back of a black SUV, CBS2's Emily Smith reported. As part of the bail deal, Abad is not allowed to drive, Smith reported.

"He's upset," Abad's lawyer, Mario Gallucci, told reporters outside the courthouse. "He's as upset as you would expect somebody to be. This wasn't fun and games -- he's upset. He lost two friends and hurt another."

Authorities said the men were headed home from a strip club back in March when Abad drove the wrong way down the West Shore Expressway and crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer. The officers were off-duty at the time.

Surveillance footage from a nearby gas station shows the car going the wrong way.

The crash killed Officer Frank Viggiano and and Joseph Rodriguez. Abad and Officer Patrik Kudlac were hospitalized. The truck driver suffered injuries that weren't considered life-threatening.

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.''

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 supermarket, a police report said. Abad was issued a summons for driving under the influence 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.

Rodriguez's sister Roseanne sobbed as she learned more about Abad's potential fate, Smith reported.

"He has to pay for what he did. My family is destroyed ... ruined. He has to pay."

"It's hard to see him walking -- my brother's dead. I want peace," Rodriguez added.

Abad surrendered his passport. He is due back in court Oct. 29.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.