NEW YORK - A New Jersey police officer has pleaded not guilty to charges he was driving drunk in a wrong-way crash in New York that killed two passengers.
Pedro Abad, 27, entered the plea Monday in state court on Staten Island to charges including vehicular manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide and more than two-dozen other crimes.
Authorities say Abad crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer on a Staten Island expressway after leaving a strip club in March.
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The collision killed fellow off-duty officer Frank Viggiano and a second man, Joseph Rodriguez. A third officer, Patrik Kudlac, was critically injured.
The 27-count indictment alleges that Abad's blood alcohol content was 0.18 percent or higher.
Abad's lawyer has said his client is still recovering from serious leg injuries. He has been hospitalized or in a rehabilitation center since the accident.
His lawyer says that Abad has limited use of his lower extremities and his left arm. The injuries have also impacted his speech.
Abad posted $25,000 bond and turned in his passport. He was also ordered by the judge not to drive as part of the conditions of his bail.
If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison.
The next court date is set for Oct. 29.