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N.J. Couple Whose Jeep Flipped With Son Inside Appear In Court

Michael And Kelly Fertitta Charged With Endangering Welfare Of A Child

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NEWTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey couple whose Jeep flipped more than 20 times down a ski slope and ejected their 6-year-old son appeared in court Monday, with both parents trying to avoid jail time.

Michael Fertitta was drunk when he drove down the 500-foot slope at the Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon on May 4, prosecutors say. His wife, Kelly, was a passenger in the vehicle, CBS 2′s Christine Sloan reported Monday.

The Fertittas are accused of endangering the welfare of their son. Their Jeep was mangled, but their son survived the crash with no serious injuries.

Michael Fertitta, 39, who works as a detective for the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, pleaded not guilty. He said the ride down the slope was an accident.

“It was a bad decision, something both of them regret,” said Anthony Iacullo, Kelly Fertitta’s lawyer.

Michael Fertitta has not accepted a plea deal to serve 18 months in prison. He could be sentenced up to 10 years if convicted. Michael Fertitta, who has been suspended with pay from the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, is due back in court Oct. 15.

Kelly Fertitta, 43, however, has entered an 18-month program for nonviolent offenders. If she completes it by taking parenting and defensive driving classes, the charges against her will be dismissed.

She told the judge Monday that she plans “to live a productive life the next 18 months.”

“Kelly is a woman focused on getting her life back in order,” Iacullo said. “She is focused on her son and husband.”

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