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Former Linden officer found guilty in wrong-way DWI Staten Island crash that killed 2 passengers

Staten Island prosecutor Daniel Master said that tests show Linden Officer Pedro Abad’s blood alcohol content was 0.24. The legal limit in New York is 0.08. (Photo/Linden Police Department)

STATEN ISLAND — A former New Jersey police officer has been found guilty Thursday in a 2015 drunk driving wrong-way crash that killed two of his passengers and seriously injured another.

Pedro Abad, 29, was found guilty on all counts against him, including four counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, as well as 18 additional counts, including reckless endangerment, aggravated vehicular assault, and other charges.

The crash happened back in 2015, on March 20, around 4:40 a.m.

Abad was driving while intoxicated as he entered the West Shore Expressway in the wrong direction.

He then continued driving north in the southbound lane at a high rate of speed, forcing four other vehicles to swerve out of the way to avoid striking his 2015 Honda Civic before he crashed head-on into a tractor trailer without braking.

Two of Abad’s passengers, Joseph Rodriguez and Frank Viggiano, both 28, were killed.

Abad and another passenger, Patrick Kudlac, 25, both suffered serious injuries. The driver of the truck was also injured.

Earlier that evening, Abad and Kudlac had gone to Central Park, a bar and restaurant in New Jersey, and drank whiskey before joining up with Rodriguez and Viggiano.

From there, the group drove to Curves gentleman’s club on Staten Island, arriving at around 2:21 a.m. Credit card receipts from that evening show that Abad had purchased numerous alcoholic beverages for himself and others throughout the night.

A blood sample revealed Abad had a blood-alcohol content of .24 after the crash. A paramedic who treated Abad on scene immediately following the crash also testified that he had a very strong odor of alcohol.

The verdict came following a 2-week jury trial in Richmond County State Supreme Court before Justice Mario F. Mattei.

Abad faces up to eight to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 8.

“Mr. Abad’s fateful choice to get behind the wheel while he was heavily intoxicated ended in a horrific and deadly crash that cost two of his friends their lives and seriously injured a third passenger. He also put the lives of other drivers on the road at risk when he sped down the Expressway traveling in the wrong direction,” said District Attorney Michael E. McMahon.