Off-Duty Cop’s Drunken Crash Killed NJ Woman, Prosecutor Says
BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP — An off-duty rookie police officer has been charged with the death of a Florence woman who was killed after he crashed his car while driving drunk, prosecutors said.
Burlington County Prosecutor Robert D. Bernadi said Justin Rodriguez, a Burlington Township police officer for 11 months, drove his Acura Integra into a utility pole on West Front Street in Florence on Sept. 23. Rodriquez was thrown from the car. Ariana Williams, a passenger in his car, died at the scene.
A blood test on Rodriquez showed he had "consumed an excessive amount of alcohol in the hours leading up to the crash," Bernardi said. He was arrested Thursday morning and charged with one count of second-degree vehicular homicide for Williams' death. Rodriquez was released after he posted $50,000 bail.
Burlington Township Police said Rodriquez has been on administrative leave since the crash and is now suspended without pay pending the case's outcome.
The Burlington Township Police Department said the investigation into the incident was conducted by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, in conjunction with the Florence Township Police Department.
“The members of the Burlington Township Police Department, first and foremost, would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Ariana Williams. We cannot even begin to imagine the pain and grief they are experiencing over their loss. This was a tragic and preventable accident, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family." the department said in a statement.