New Jersey State Police detective charged with Drunken Driving
TRENTON – Reports say that a New Jersey Police detective has been charged with drunk driving. The incident took place at 3.17 a.m. on Dec. 28 at Chatham Borough, Watchung Avenue and River Road when the police detective lost control of his vehicle and drove it off the road, crashing through a concrete wall before coming to rest on top of a large rock.
43-year-old Detective Sgt. 1st Class Joseph P. Brennan was found unresponsive behind the wheel of his own sport utility vehicle. He belongs to Rutherford. No one was injured in the accident.
Two sources familiar with the accident told that acting Detective had been off-duty and played the bagpipes at a private birthday party for Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio before the accident.
On the other hand, DeMaio declined comment.
However, the sources did not say where the party had been held, and who else attended the party. They have not even said anything about whether Brennan had been drinking in the party. Brennan is also a member of the Pipes and Drums of the Blue and Gold, a nonprofit, trooper-led bagpipe band. The sources also requested not to mention their name.
Lt. Stephen Jones, a spokesman for the State Police, also reported that Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes also plays with the band, but he did not attend that party.
Brennan, who joined the force in 1998 and according to state records, earned $105,588 in 2011 was suspended without pay the day of arrest pending the outcome of the charges and an internal investigation, said Jones.
The police report stated that when officers reached Brennan and got his attention, his speech was slurred, and his breath smelled of alcohol. Moreover, his lips were stained purple as if he had been consuming red wine. Brennan was confused about what had happened and he was told that he had been in an accident.
“He mumbled what sounded like a no,” when asked if he had been drinking, said police.
Brennan was charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving and refusal to submit to a breath test. He was assigned to State Police’s Analysis Unit at the Regional Operations Intelligence Center in West Trenton and was later released pending an appearance in municipal court.
When Brennan was found and Detective Joseph Crecca of Chatham Borough demanded him to get out of his vehicle, instead of getting out of the car, he repeatedly reached for his right hip under his suit jacket. Feeling unsafe, Crecca handcuffed Brennan’s left hand before taking him off the vehicle. Later, Crecca found Brennan’s gun on his right hip which was taken away on the arrival of another officer. His State police badge had also been seized from his right pocket. He was taken to borough police headquarter where he refused to take a breath test, report said.
Brennan’s weapon was later released to a member of the State Police’s internal affairs unit. Brennan did not return a call for comment.
This crash was the latest in the chain of incidents related to State Police and under the influence crashes.
A police trooper was charged with driving a vehicle under the influence and having an open container of alcohol in 2011. He crashed with another car after running through a red light in Pequannock Township.
Similarly, an officer was arrested and charged for driving drunk by a member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol in April. Recently in July, a police officer was arrested after he hit two parked cars, crashed his cruiser into a backyard brook and ran from the scene in Lake Como.