As reported by nj.com, an appeals court ruled an indictment against a North Brunswick police officer charged with official misconduct in an accident that killed a fellow officer is legal and should stand. It was the second decision by the appellate judges that the indictment charging Lieutenant Keith Buckley with two counts of official misconduct should be upheld.
In the first decision several months ago, the judges overturned Superior Court Judge Frederick DeVesa’s dismissal of the indictment. DeVesa had found the indictment lacked clarity and would make it difficult for Buckley to defend himself. The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office appealed DeVesa’s ruling last year. Buckley also appealed parts of DeVesa’s ruling. Buckley’s appeal was rejected in yesterday’s decision.
Buckley is charged in two indictments arising from the August 12, 2008 death of Lieutenant Christopher Zerby. The first indictment charges him with vehicular homicide after allegedly causing Zerby’s death. That indictment was upheld by DeVesa, but Buckley has filed an appeal that will be heard sometime this fall by appellate judges.
Authorities said Zerby was killed when Buckley lost control of a Dodge Viper on Route 130 in North Brunswick and struck a utility pole. Police said Buckley, who was commander of the patrol division and on duty, drove his police car to his brother’s house to pick up the Viper during the day. They said he stopped by police headquarters to pick up Zerby. Authorities said the car reached speeds in excess of 94 mph before the crash.
The official misconduct charges in the second indictment arise from the fact that Buckley and Zerby were on duty when Buckley took the Viper and violated state motor vehicle laws, as well as departmental rules and regulations.