Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pennsylvania Woman Sentenced to 364 Days in Jail for DUI and Striking an On-Duty Hamilton Township Officer

MAYS LANDING – A Pennsylvania woman was sentenced to 364 days in county jail for striking an on-duty Hamilton Township Police Officer while driving under the influence last year, acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced today.
On Friday, Oct. 4, Krystal Cruz, 29, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, received a 364-day county jail sentence for driving under the influence of alcohol and assault by auto.

On Dec. 24, 2012, Cruz left a Christmas Eve party after consuming several alcoholic beverages and ran a red light at the intersection of Route 40 and CR 575 in Hamilton Township. After running the light, Cruz’s vehicle collided with an on-duty police officer forcing his vehicle to collide with a pole on the side of the road.
Cruz was charged with assault by auto and driving under the influence. She later pleaded guilty to both on Aug. 28.
The officer, a 24-year veteran of the Hamilton Township Police Department, sustained serious bodily injuries in the crash. Since the accident, the officer has been unable to return work. The officer testified at sentencing that he has lost the past 10 months of his life while recovering from the accident and that it is unclear as to whether his injuries will leave him permanently impaired.
At sentencing, the defense asked for the Court to sentence the defendant to a term of probation, due to her lack of any prior criminal record.
The State, represented by Assistant Prosecutor Erika Halayko, argued for a county jail sentence in addition to probation. “Probation would only be a slap on the wrist for a crime that requires punishment for the defendant’s decision to drink and drive, which resulted in life altering consequences for the victim,” argued Halayko.
Superior Court Judge Mark Sandson agreed with the State’s recommendation, and sentenced Cruz to 364 days in county jail, an additional two years of probation, fines, a 3-month suspension of driver’s license, and restitution in an amount yet to be determined. The Court ruled that the defendant would be allowed to serve the sentence via a Home Electronic Detention System (HEDS) or day reporting due to her lack of a prior criminal record.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. Members of the public can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.


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