NEW BRUNSWICK – A 24-year-old Woodbridge resident was sentenced to eight years in prison for causing a crash that killed one Perth Amboy police officer and seriously injured another last year.
Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Sewitch said that Sean McGuirk was traveling 45 to 50 miles an hour in a 25 mph zone when he crashed into the patrol car and probably had a blood alcohol level of .13 percent at the time of the collision, considerably higher than the legal limit of .08 percent. The crash killed officer Thomas Raji, 31, and severely injured officer Michael Mercurio, 44.
Mercurio suffered a brain injury, damage to his kidney and spleen, broken ribs and cracked vertebrae. Most of the bones in his face were broken and he needed surgery to rebuild his eye sockets. He is still trying to recover and may need additional surgery, he told the court.
Raji’s widow, officer Marisol Raji, was pregnant at the time of the fatal crash. She is planning to retire from the force in November to care for her infant daughter, Mikayla.
Superior Court Judge Frederick De Vesa said, “If ever there was a case that demonstrates the harm to society from drunken driving, I can’t imagine one more than this one.” He told McGuirk, “I only hope you, while serving this sentence, reflect on the harm you’ve created, and you resolve in your own mind why you made horrible, horrible decisions that night.”
McGurik was visibly upset during the proceeding and told the judge before sentencing, “I can’t even convey how sorry I am…. My mother taught me better. I destroyed so many people.”
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