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New Jersey truck driver facing charges after fatal accident

Authorities in New Jersey have reported that charges have been brought against a 55-year-old man for the role he allegedly played in a multi-vehicle accident in June. The crash claimed the life of a 43-year-old Harrison man and injured several others. The man is facing a felony count of vehicular homicide in the second degree and a third-degree charge of hindering apprehension. The Union City resident has also been cited for a number of traffic violations. He was reportedly taken into custody at his residence and transported to the Bergen County Jail. His bail was subsequently set at $50,000.

According to state police, the man was talking on a cellphone as he operated a tractor-trailer in the southbound left lane of the New Jersey Turnpike on June 9 at about 5:00 p.m. Police say that the phone distracted him as he approached slowing traffic. His truck then struck the rear of another vehicle, setting off a chain-reaction accident.

Prosecutors say that this is one of the first accident cases in Bergen County where criminal charges have been filed against a motorist for using a cellphone. The prosecutor also said that the truck driver's cellphone records were examined by investigators prior to charges being brought.

The consequences of a felony conviction can be severe in New Jersey, but prosecutors must prove their case beyond any reasonable doubt. A criminal defense attorney may dispute the validity of evidence relied upon by prosecutors, and they could closely scrutinize witness statements and police reports for vague or contradictory accounts. Motor vehicle accidents are sometimes caused by a combination of factors, and an attorney may point out alternative explanations during plea negotiations.

Source: NorthJersey.com, 'Trucker charged with vehicular homicide after alleged cellphone use led to fatal crash in Carlstadt", Stefanie Dazio and Abbott Koloff, Aug. 1, 2014

Source: Patch.com, "Tractor Trailer Driver Charged in Fatal Bergen Turnpike Crash", Caitlin Brown, August 02, 2014

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