The night before Thanksgiving is notorious for festivities and celebrations where alcohol flows freely. As a result, the night has also become known for DWI checkpoints, with police setting up numerous stops throughout New Jersey to patrol for drunk drivers.
This year, one DWI checkpoint in Union Township NJ has particular significance, as it is the location where a New York City firefighter was recently killed by an allegedly drunk driver.
The DWI stop in Union Township will memorialize NYC firefighter John Monteverde, who died while riding his motorcycle on North Avenue after being hit by Anthony Marsal.
According to police, just a few hours after the accident, a test of Mr. Marsal’s blood alcohol level showed that it was 0.189 percent. In New Jersey, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more is considered legally intoxicated. Union police believe that Mr. Marsal’s blood alcohol content might have been even higher when the accident actually occurred.
Mr. Marsal is currently facing charges for vehicular homicide and drunk driving (DWI), among other related charges.
Although Mr. Marsal is accused of being intoxicated at the time of the crash, it is the burden of the State to prove that he was, in fact, intoxicated when he hit Mr. Monteverde. In court, estimations of Mr. Marsal’s blood alcohol level will not suffice as evidence sufficient to prove intoxication. Additionally, toxicology results produced hours after the incident may leave room for defense lawyers to question their validity. It remains to be seen whether the prosecution will be able to effectively establish Mr. Marsal’s state of intoxication, a component integral to the State’s success in proving its case.
Recently, the Union Police Department announced the location of the planned DWI/DUI checkpoint, which will be on Morris Avenue, slightly east of Route 22. Officials plan to conduct stops at the checkpoint from 11:00 PM on the night of November 27 through 4:00 AM on November 28.
Union officials have also announced a new initiative aimed at preventing “buzzed driving.” The premise behind this program is that any amount of alcohol can affect a driver’s reaction time, impairing a person’s faculties behind the wheel and increasing the risk of a fatal car crash.
To learn more about the planned DWI checkpoint, see the NJ.com article entitled “Union Police Plan Pre-Thanksgiving DUI Checkpoint in Memory of FDNY Firefighter.”