Three Hackensack cops indicted in alleged DWI cover-up
A Bergen County grand jury has indicted three Hackensack police officers on charges of covering up a DWI involving one of them. Charged with conspiracy to commit official misconduct, among other counts: Jakub M. Szostak, 24; Lawrence C. Levin, 29, and 30-year-old Eric M. Mark, a former assistant Somerset County prosecutor.
Szostak was off duty when he got into the crash in the early morning hours of June 2 after leaving the Poitin Still tavern, the prosecutor said. Moments later, Mark pulled up in his police cruiser.
Mark, who was on duty, had spoken with Szostak outside the bar just a short time earlier, Molinelli said.
Instead of giving Szostak a sobriety test, the prosecutor said, Mark — a former member of the New Jersey Bar Association — summoned Levin by cellphone.
The prosecutor said Mark directed Szostak to drive his vehicle from Johnson Avenue into a Quick Chek parking lot despite Szostak’s condition.
Levin showed up and Mark left the scene, “not having radioed in his presence at the scene of the accident,” Molinell said. “When Levin radioed the accident into headquarters, he indicated he was alerted to it when he was ‘flagged down,’ instead of reporting that Mark called him to the scene.”
Their individual accounts didn’t match up, however, and Bergen County Police were called to handle the accident investigation, he said.
Szostak later lied on his insurance claim and received a payout, Molinelli added.
City officials suspended both in July for “personnel” reasons, without elaborating. The pair only began working for the city in January 2010 after graduating from the county police academy.
Members of Molinelli’s Confidential Investigations Unit, under the direction of Chief Steven Cucciniello, handled the case.
Szostak, Mark and Levin are each charged with one count of second-degree conspiracy. Mark and Levin are each charged with two counts of second-degree official misconduct.
Szostak is additionally charged with third-degree insurance fraud.