NJ Cop Fatally Struck on Route 80 by Drunk Driver

Monday, Oct 17, 2011  |  Updated 6:46 AM EDT
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NJ Cop Fatally Struck by Drunk Driver

Morris County Police

Officer Joseph Wargo

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A 38-year-old police officer in New Jersey was struck and killed by a drunk driver while he was on patrol in his police car early Sunday, the Morris County prosecutor's office said.

Mount Arlington police officer Joseph Wargo was apparently driving eastbound on Route 80 while a driver sped from the opposite direction, in the westbound lanes, just after midnight, the prosecutor's office said.

The driver, identified as 29-year-old Michael Cassella, lost control of his car and slid sideways across the center median into Officer Wargo's patrol car, said the prosecutor's office.

The patrol car was found in the woods off the roadway with extensive front-end damage, the prosecutor's office said. Wargo was transported to Morristown Memorial Hospital by Atlantic Air One helicopter.

He was pronounced dead at 1:25 a.m.

Cassella was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and speeding.

Bail has been set for Cassella at $500,000. He remains in Morris County Correctional Facility. 

The accident remains under investigation.

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