A Hudson County corrections officer had been drinking when he plowed into two local Republican leaders two weeks ago outside the Coach House Diner, who died later from the injuries, according to an assistant county prosecutor.
The officer apparently continued drinking after the accident, according to investigators’ findings released in a Hudson County court this week NJ.com reported, and was still way over the legal limit when arrested nearly nine hours after the accident. In the accident at around 8 pm on April 2nd outside North Bergen‘s landmark Coach House Diner, 57-year-old Republican county vice chair Russell Maffei and 80-year-old Assembly candidate Marie Tauro were killed.
The officer, 38-year-old Michael Hansen of North Bergen, registered a blood alcohol concentration of 0.27 when he was arrested at the house of family members early the following morning, and county investigators determined Hansen had been drinking both before and after the accident. In New Jersey, a person is guilty of drunk driving if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or greater and operates a motor vehicle.
County prosecutors upgraded charges to two counts of vehicular homicide (Death By Auto), a county judge, Paul DePascale, has released the corrections officer on bail and restricted him from driving, but not from drinking. Hansen had initially been charged by the county Prosecutor’s Office only with leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest.
According to some lawyers HudsonTV spoke with, the purpose of bail is not to punish a suspect but to ensure his or her reappearance at subsequent court appearances, and a suspect not considered a flight risk may be granted bail.
Video of the incident can be seen below shared on Channel 7.