STATEN ISLAND — Former Linden police officer Pedro Abad, the man accused of driving home from a strip club drunk and crashing into a truck – killing two passengers in his car – had two alcoholic drinks and a bottle of water at the club prior to the accident, the manager testified on Thursday.
“He drinks Jack Daniels,” said Ford, recalling the former officer’s favorite drink and saying he was a regular at the strip club.
Ford read from Abad’s credit card receipt from March 20, 2015 that showed the former officer also bought seven drinks for bartenders and dancers at the club, and spent a total of $103.
Authorities say Abad left the club and drove the wrong way on the West Shore Expressway, crashing into a tractor-trailer in a collision that killed fellow Linden officer Frank Viggiano and Linden resident Joseph Rodriguez, 28, and critically injured a fourth passenger, fellow Linden officer Patrik Kudlac.
Kudlac later was forced to resign because of his injuries and Abad was fired because he was unable to return to work.
Abad, who allegedly had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit at the time of the crash, has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and manslaughter along with other charges.
When his trial resumes Friday, a toxicologist is expected to testify about the tests on a blood sample taken from Abad. The defendant’s lawyer, Mario Gallucci, has argued that police failed to follow proper procedures to obtain and test the blood.
In court Thursday, Ford testified to seeing Abad and the other Linden men. Ford read a second credit card receipt showing that Rodriguez paid $300 for a bottle of Circo vodka, and added a $100 tip to the bill.
Under questioning from Assistant Prosecutor Mark Palladino, Ford said that Abad did not appear drunk that night, but Rodriguez looked liked he was intoxicated. Ford admitted that the bar is being sued as a result of the fatal accident. Relatives of Viggiano and Rodriguez have filed lawsuits.
In response to another question from Palladino, Ford said Abad could have purchased other drinks with cash and there would have been no receipt for those drinks.
Another witness, Lennox Moore, said he was driving on the West Shore Expressway about 4:50 a.m. on March 20, 2015 when he saw a car coming towards him, traveling the wrong way.
“I realized this might be it for me,” Moore said in court as he described driving how he was traveling south on the West Shore Expressway and saw a car driving north directly at him.
“Were you afraid for your life,” Assistant District Attorney Frank Prospero asked Moore.
“Yes,” said Moore, a Staten Island resident and a bus driver who driving his own car and heading work. Moore said he “yanked’ his steering wheel to the right, and pulled on the edge of the road to avoid a collision, but still heard a “ding” when the other car brushed against his.
Authorities say it was Abad’s 2015 Honda Civic that was traveling the wrong…