YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A math teacher whose car slammed into a police cruiser, critically injuring Bergen County Police Officer Daniel Breslin on Route 46 in Lodi last April, had a blood alcohol level of .219 that “greatly contributed to the accident,” a prosecutor this morning said an expert’s report shows.
Psychopharmacologist John Brick is prepared to testify that Michael Ettz was “severely impaired” when the crash occurred at 1:50 a.m. last April 19, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Martin Delaney told a judge during a status conference this morning.
Delaney also said surveillance video shows Ettz’s vehicle hitting Breslin’s car in the rear and slamming it into a utility pole at the side of the road with such an impact that it activated the cruiser’s emergency lights.
“That is not from an in-car vehicle — it’s from a surveillance camera at Enterprise Rent-a-Car,” the assistant prosecutor said.
Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian — who told Ettz in January that he’d have to serve nearly six years in prison without parole if he accepts a plea deal — set the next court appearance for April 20.
Defense attorney Brian Neary also agreed Ettz to submit a DNA sample to the prosecutor’s office as required by state law.
In exchange for a guilty plea, Delaney has offered a seven-year deal — 85% of which Ettz’ would have to serve under the state No Early Release Act.
He remained free on $150,000 bail.
A grand jury in Hackensack indicted Ettz in August on charges of aggravated assault, DWI assault by auto and leaving the scene of a crash with serious injuries.
Breslin, meanwhile, was continuing physical rehabilitation.
The married father of two returned to his Fairfield home in August after spending several months in a hospital and rehab facility.
Friends and loved one said he has tackled outpatient rehabilitation — including physical and speech therapy — with great determination, a testament to his courage and personality, those who know him said.
Breslin had stopped his SUV in the right lane of Route 46 to block traffic from hitting a county police car stopped on the right shoulder, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said at the time.
The other officer was having radio problems, the prosecutor explained. Ettz’s four-door 2012 Ford Fusion slammed into Breslin’s SUV, trapping the officer, who had to be extricated, the prosecutor said.
Ettz then tried to make a run for it after being pulled from his car but was caught by a Lodi police sergeant, he said.
Breslin sustained a “significant head injury” and was brought to surgery with a skull fracture and bleeding after a CAT scan was done following the 1:50 a.m. crash, Molinelli said.
He also sustained several broken ribs and a collapsed lung.
Ettz, a Lodi High School teacher, previously had his driver’s license suspended 240 days for a drunk driving conviction out of Clifton.
STORY/PHOTOS: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
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