Survivor testifies against ex-Linden police officer in double-fatal Staten Island DWI case

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NJ Burkett has the story

A survivor of a deadly wrong-way crash on Staten Island took the stand Wednesday against a former New Jersey police officer charged with driving drunk in the accident.

Former officer Pedro Abad read from the Bible outside the courtroom where he is on trial for the horrific crash on the West Shore Expressway that killed two passengers in his car.

"We all have different things, different be confident and know that Christ is with you," he said.

Wednesday, Abad came face to face with the only other survivor in his car, Patrick Kudlac, his one-time drinking buddy and fellow Linden police officer, now a witness for the prosecution.

Kudlac described the rounds of drinks, the whiskey shots and the strip club where they partied with another Linden police officer, Frank Viggiano and a friend, Joseph Rodriguez.

He was asleep in the back seat seconds before the crash.

"The truck horn woke me up," Kudlac testified. "I felt the car swerve to the left. I was looking around. I saw Frank and Joey."

"Where was Pedro?", asked the prosecutor.

"He was slumped over the steering wheel. They were all unconscious," said Kudlac.

Prosecutors say Abad's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. But the defense insists the number of drinks doesn't add up to that.

"He's able to metabolize four drinks in six hours," said defense attorney Mario Gallucci. "It's unfortunate and I feel bad for the people involved, but this was an accident. It was 4:30 in the morning, he could fall asleep at the wheel."

Attending the trial are relatives of the victims who have waited two years for this. Viggiano's father described the pain off-camera: "Think of the worst thing that could ever happen to you, and multiply it by 100," he said.

If convicted, Abad faces up to 25 years in prison.
Related Topics:
accidentcrashwrong wayofficer chargedLinden
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