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Union County Hit-And-Run Driver Drank Before Accident

Linden Man Arrested and Charged With DWI and Death By Auto For Drunk Driving Accident

This week, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office announced that an arrest was made on a Linden resident, Ibn Collins, in regards to a deadly Hit-and-Run accident that occurred nearly two months ago. The accident resulted in the death of Fanwood resident and elementary school teacher Meghan Crilly. However, yesterday’s announcement indicated that after thorough investigation, the County Prosecutor’s Office had determined that Mr. Collins was the alleged driver and had been drinking at a bar celebrating his birthday shortly before the accident. Mr. Collins is facing criminal charges including aggravated manslaughter, death by auto while driving intoxicated within 1,000 feet of a school, hindering apprehension and tampering with evidence.

The Acting Union County Prosecutor, Michael A. Monahan, offered the following statement on the matter, “While this arrest doesn’t bring her back, we believe it’s a first step in securing the justice Meghan and her loved ones deserve.” Initially, as a result of the accident, Ms. Crilly suffered multiple injuries, including spinal damage, a broken pelvis, broken tibia, lacerated liver, and internal bleeding. She subsequently died on Feb. 1 at University Hospital.

Will the Bar Face ABC Charges?

Possibly. According to the statement from authorities, Mr. Collins had been drinking at a bar in Kenilworth prior to the tragic incident. Apparently, Mr. Collins had been celebrating and consumed multiple drinks at a Kenilworth bar that night prior to driving back home to Linden. At around 2 a.m. Collins sped through a red light at the intersection of North Wood Avenue and Route 27 and hit Crilly, who was in a crosswalk on North Wood Avenue, Monahan said. Her body flew nearly 140 feet, and Collins did not slow down or stop following the impact, he said.

Depending on Mr. Collins level of intoxication and conduct at the bar, the Kenilworth liquor license could be subject the civil charges from the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control or from the Borough of Kenilworth. While multiple charges could apply, the most common ABC Charge for this type of incident in known of Sale of Alcoholic Beverages to an Intoxicated Patron, in violation of N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.1(b). While these charges involved a presumptive penalty of a 15-day license suspension for a first offense, this changes when a fatality is involved. Because Ms. Crilly succumbed to her injuries, the presumptive penalty enhances to revocation of the liquor license, pursuant to ABC law. 

Of course, this is simple speculation as it is not clear if the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control or local municipal ABC Board are pursuing any investigation.

Can the Family of the Victim Sue the Bar Who Served the Driver?

Under what is referred to as “Dram Shop” law, victims and/or family members may file civil lawsuits against the bar or restaurant that over-serves a patron who is visibly intoxicated and causes subsequent harm. These cases are very fact-specific and require an in-depth review of any videos, statements or police reports regarding the underlying incident. However, if there is sufficient proof that the patron was visibly intoxicated at the time of service and thereafter was involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in injuries or death to a third-party, then a civil complaint may be filed. Typically, liquor licenses like bars, restaurants and clubs will obtain Dram Shop Liability Insurance for these types of incidents. 

New Jersey Liquor License Attorneys

Proetta & Oliver is a New Jersey Law firm that specializes in the practice of alcoholic beverage laws and regulations. Firm Partner, William C. Fay, IV, Esq., is a former NJ Deputy Attorney General with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. If you have any questions or would like to speak to Mr. Fay about a Union County matter, please contact our office at (732) 858-5857.

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