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Officer hurt in deadly wrong-way crash plans to sue city

LINDEN, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey police officer who survived a wrong-way crash that killed two other people in March is planning to sue his city over its handling of an earlier drunk-driving case against the officer who was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the crash.

The attorney for Linden police Officer Patrik Kudlac, 23, filed a tort claim notice over the handling of an earlier drunken driving ticket issued to Officer Pedro Abad in Roselle. Abad was issued a summons in January 2011 for driving while intoxicated after his vehicle crashed into the wall of a supermarket, according to the notice. The DWI charge was later dismissed.

The notice alleges “negligence, fraud and/or official misconduct in connection with the handling and prosecution” of that case.

Linden Mayor Derek Armstead questioned whether Kudlac’s claim will have merit because the deadly crash occurred while Abad was off-duty.

“I’m not sure what the outcome will be,” Armstead told MyCentralJersey.com for a story published Tuesday night.

Abad, 27, had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit at the time of the March 20 crash in New York City, according to the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office. The crash injured Abad and Kudlac, and killed Linden Officer Frank Viggiano and Linden resident Joe Rodriguez, both 28.

The group was returning from a Staten Island strip club at the time of the crash. Hours earlier, 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.”

No charges have been filed in the case and it remains under investigation.

Abad was also charged with DUI in Rahway in 2013.

Kudlac has been undergoing physical therapy for his injuries. Abad remains hospitalized in New Jersey.

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