A New Jersey cop who killed two buddies, including a fellow cop, in a drunk driving crash last year had been arrested twice before on drunk driving charges, but his department never felt the need to discipline him.
But he avoided a conviction in a 2011 incident where he drove his car into a store with a .176 blood alcohol content level, more than twice the legal limit.
It was not until officer Abad killed two friends and left a third critically injured while driving the wrong way on an expressway after leaving a strip club at 5 a.m. on March 20, 2015 that the department decided to fire him.
But even that took seven months.
However, Abad’s blood alcohol content was .24 that night – three times the legal limit.
So drugged or not, he was breaking the law.
An investigation has found that the Linden Police Department was deficient in disciplining Pedro Abad when the former officer was charged twice with DUI, before the double-fatal crash this March where he is also alleged to have been driving drunk, according to an announcement today from acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park.
Park also announced that, in light of the investigation’s findings, her office will now oversee the Linden Police Department’s internal affairs division until further notice. The actions come after the completion of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office investigation of Abad’s employment and discipline with the department, Park said.
Abad, 28, is now facing aggravated vehicular homicide and manslaughter charges, which he probably expects to beat considering his history of beating drunk driving charges. He has pleaded not guilty.
In the 2011 incident, the case was dismissed when the Roselle Police Department, which arrested him, failed to submit evidence to Abad’s lawyer.
The judge, noting the case had dragged on nearly a year said he would give police one more month to provide the information and if it was not supplied, he would consider a defense motion to dismiss the case.
Municipal Prosecutor Steven Merman quickly argued against a dismissal, stating that Marootian had only requested the blood evidence be suppressed.
“This is an extremely serious case,” Merman said at the Dec. 15, 2011.
He noted that Roselle Police Officer Kendall Vaughn, who investigated the accident, had been out sick for a long time and that he had no control over the information that State Police supplied.
The next month, at a Jan. 19, 2012 hearing that lasted three minutes, Marshall dismissed the charges against Abad. Marshall said he had originally given authorities until Sept. 30, 2011 to supply information to Marootian, and he had yet to receive it more than three months after that deadline.
So it wasn’t just a case of affluenza, but a case of abluenza, a cop feigning illness in order to save a fellow cop from a drunk driving conviction.
In the 2013 incident, his license was suspended for seven months starting in October of that month. He was then required to drive with an ignition-interlock device on his car until September 2014, which required him to blow into a breathalyzer before starting his car.
It is not clear if his department allowed him to drive his patrol car while his license was suspended, which means they probably did because otherwise, they would have told the media he was on desk duty during that time.
Then came the March 2015 incident in which he partied it up with two fellow Linden police officers, Frank Viggiano and Patrik Kudlac, and a friend, Joseph Rodriguez, at a strip club called Curves.
Abad, who frequently posted photos of his alcohol escapades on social media, along with selfies while driving his patrol car, posted the following photo on Instagram while at the club.
He ended up crashing head-on into a tractor trailer, killing Viggiano and Rodriguez, and leaving Kudlac and himself critically injured.
Abad, a six-year veteran of the department was making more than $92,000-a-year, but was recently terminated.
After a five-month silence on social media, he posted the following on Instagram.