NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A lawyer for a Linden, New Jersey police officer charged with driving drunk in a wrong-way crash on Staten Island that killed two passengers, including a fellow police officer, said his client may have been drugged at a strip club.
Attorney Mario Gallucci told Staten Island Supreme Court Judge Stephen Rooney on Thursday that an expert he hired found medical evidence that could be interpreted to mean Pedro Abad was drugged with GHB before the March crash.
He asked the judge if he could get Abad’s blood sample to be tested. Assistant District Attorney Mark Palladino said he would find out if a sample is available.
“If he was drugged, that would make him not responsible for his actions,” Gallucci told WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron.
He’s basing his claim on a recent case involving Scores in Manhattan.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, Abad had two prior DUI charges, dashcam video from one shows him barely able to walk or talk.
Hours before the crash, Abad had posted a photo on his Instagram page of three shot glasses filled with what he identified as “Jack Daniels Fire on the house.”
Still, Galluci insisted that Abad was not impaired before arriving at Curves with his three friends.
The manager at Curves called the “drugged by a dancer” theory “ridiculous.”
“Scores gets millionaires. We get blue collar guys. No one is spiking their drinks here, period,” he said.
Galluci has experts who said his theory is wort exploring. On Thursday, a court agreed he could have access to samples of Abad’s blood the night of the accident to test for drugs.
Abad was charged in a 27-count indictment with vehicular manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault and other crimes.
Authorities said the men were headed home from a strip club when Abad drove the wrong way down the West Shore Expressway and crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer. Surveillance footage from a nearby gas station shows the car going the wrong way.
The crash killed Officer Frank Viggiano and Joseph Rodriguez. Abad and Officer Patrik Kudlac were hospitalized. The truck driver suffered injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening. The officers were off-duty at the time.
Abad pleaded not guilty last month. Prosecutors said his blood-alcohol content was 0.24. That’s more than three times the legal limit.
If convicted on the top count, aggravated vehicular homicide, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
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