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Man pleads guilty to killing New Jersery officer in accident

In July of 2012, a Millville, New Jersey, police officer had been on the job for two weeks when he was killed in a car accident. The man responsible for the accident was allegedly drunk at the time of the crash.

The 25-year-old man had originally pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated assault and aggravated manslaughter -- both charges that also contained the criminal element of eluding the police.

The 25-year-old didn't stop when he saw the police car with its lights on behind him. Instead, the pursuit began as the man drove off. The pursuit reaches speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour according to earlier reports.

The officer who perished in the crash and another officer who was injured were not the officers who started the pursuit. They were in a back-up unit. The car accident occurred at 3rd and Broad streets.

The defendant did not receive a specific sentence in his plea bargain. The prosecution said that the plea bargain is open, meaning the man could be sentenced to the maximum prison sentence allowed by law. The first-degree aggravated manslaughter charge carries a possible maximum fine of $200,000 and a maximum prison term of 20 years. The second-degree aggravated assault charge -- which is for the other officer who was injured in the accident -- carries a possible fine of $150,000 and a possible 10-year prison term.

Ironically, the defendant had applied to join the Millville Police Department before the crash. His denial letter, which noted that he did not live within the city limits, was waiting for him in his mailbox.

When reckless or negligent behavior results in injury or death, the victims or their families have a right to pursue a civil suit for compensation against the at-fault driver. The monetary compensation won't bring back a loved one or undo the injuries and damages, but it can help the victims and their families a chance to move forward.

Source: nj.com, "Laurel Lake man pleads guilty to 2012 accident that killed Millville Officer Christopher Reeves" Don E. Woods, Aug. 05, 2014

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