Authorities say that a Bergen County officer parked his patrol car to assist a fellow officer who was having problems with his radio on April 19. Shortly before 2:00 in the morning, authorities claim that a 36-year-old Lodi, New Jersey, man crashed into the Bergen County officer’s cruiser, which was “shortly stopped parallel” to the patrol vehicle that had radio issues, according to NJ.com.

The Bergen County officer who stopped to aid another was seriously injured in the wreck. Authorities say that the 39-year-old officer suffered a head injury and was taken to a hospital in Hackensack. The Lodi man, who works as a teacher and coach, is accused of attempting to run away from the crash site on foot after he was pulled from his damaged car. He was later transported to Hackensack University Medical Center with minor injuries. After receiving treatment, the Lodi man was booked into the Bergen County Jail.

He is facing a long list of criminal charges, including driving under the influence. Among the laundry list of charges are felony level offenses, including aggravated assault.

Traffic accidents with injury are always tragic incidents. The court of public opinion often looks at the tragedy in assessing what the outcome should be. However, a criminal proceeding abides by rules and procedures intended to protect the freedoms that serve as the foundation of our country. A person accused of a crime has the right to representation. As the stakes are raised with felony level charges, the need for legal representation also rises.

Source: NJ.com, “Lodi teacher charged in Route 46 wreck that critically injured police officer,” Noah Cohen, April 19, 2014; NJ.com, “Bergen police officer in critical condition after Lodi Route 46 crash, Noah Cohen, April 19, 2014