HACKENSACK, N.J. -- A Lodi high school teacher who authorities said was drunk when his car slammed into a police cruiser, critically injuring a Bergen County Police officer, was sentenced to a plea-bargained four years in prison on Friday.
Sentencing Superior Court Judge Christopher Kazlau ordered Michael Ettz, 40, held Friday in the Bergen County Jail pending placement in the state prison system.
Officer Daniel Breslin, working for what then was the Bergen County Police Department, had stopped his SUV in the right lane of Route 46, with its lights flashing, to block traffic from hitting a county police car stopped on the right shoulder before dawn on April 19, 2014.
The other officer was having radio problems, authorities said at the time.
Ettz’s four-door 2012 Ford Fusion slammed into Breslin’s SUV at 1:50 a.m., trapping him, they said.
Ettz tried to make a run for it after being pulled from his car but was caught by a Lodi police sergeant, authorities charged.
Breslin, a married father of two, sustained a “significant head injury” and was brought to surgery with a skull fracture and bleeding after a CAT scan was done following the crash, they said.
He also sustained several broken ribs and a collapsed lung.
He remains disabled -- having lost sight in one eye and suffering from memory loss, among other injuries -- and didn't attend Friday's sentencing, Bergen County sheriff's officers said.
A pair of videos were among the key evidence, prosecutors said: One showed Ettz's car ramming Breslin’s cruiser, and the other showed Ettz drinking at a bar beforehand.
Ettz originally was indicted on charges aggravated assault, DWI assault by auto and leaving the scene of a crash with serious injuries.
After insisting he wouldn't take a deal, Ettz pleaded guilty to assault by auto in 2016 in exchange for leniency.
If convicted at a trial, he could have faced 15 years, prosecutors said.
Records show Ettz had his license suspended for 240 days for a DWI conviction out of Clifton in 2012.
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