Thursday, April 30, 2015

William Liepe to Serve 32-Years for 2011 Fatal Crash

MAYS LANDING – A Mays Landing man was sentenced today to 32 years in prison in connection with a 2011 fatal three-car collision that left a 9-year-old Hammonton boy dead, and a father and son seriously injured, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced.
On April 10, 2011, at 12:58 p.m., the Hamilton Township Police responded to Cologne Avenue, Mays Landing, for reported a three-car motor vehicle collision. The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Fatal Collision Unit also responded.
Investigation determined that William Liepe, now 62, of the 3000 block of Cologne Avenue in Mays Landing, was operating a motor vehicle south on Cologne Avenue when he rear-ended a vehicle driven by Max Guzman, 35, of Hammonton, while Guzman, with two child passengers in the car, was attempting to make a left-hand turn off Cologne Avenue to the athletic fields located behind the fire department.

The impact from Liepe’s vehicle caused Guzman’s car to enter the northbound lane and get struck by a third vehicle, a sport utility vehicle driven by Rosa Vazquez, 38, of Egg Harbor Township, with her mother and two child passengers in the vehicle.
Guzman and his 11-year-old son of the same name, who was the front-seat passenger, were transported to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center—City Campus, Atlantic City, for treatment of injuries received in the crash.
Guzman’s rear-seat passenger, nine-year-old Ryan Schleyer, of Hammonton, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Rosa Vazquez and her three passengers: 15-year-old daughter, 2-year-old son, and her mother were transported to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center—Mainland Campus, for evaluation and treatment.
The driver and children were found to be uninjured and were released; the driver’s mother, also named Rosa Vasquez, 71, of Pleasantville, was admitted to the hospital with a shoulder injury.
Liepe was transported AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center—Mainland Campus, then transferred to the City Division Trauma Unit in Atlantic City for treatment of injuries, from which he was later released.
On April 26, 2011, Liepe was charged with three (3) crimes and five (5) motor vehicle violations:
  •   Aggravated Manslaughter—a crime of the 1st degree, 
  •   Two (2) counts of Aggravated Assault—a 2nd degree crime, 
  •   Drunk Driving, 
  •   Reckless Driving, 
  •   Careless Driving, 
  •   Driving with an Open Container of Alcoholic Beverage, and 
  •   Failure to Wear a Seatbelt. 
  • Liepe was lodged in the Atlantic County Justice Facility in lieu of $350,000 cash or bond bail, set by Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Max Baker. Liepe was subsequently released on bail. 
  • On February 28, 2012, an Atlantic County Grand Jury indicted Liepe on seven criminal counts: 
  •   Aggravated Manslaughter—a 1st degree crime, 
  •   Vehicular Homicide—2nd degree, 
  •   Two (2) counts of Aggravated Assault, recklessly causing serious bodily injury  under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human
    life—2nd degree, 
  •   Two (2) counts of Assault by Auto, causing serious bodily injury—3rd degree, and 
  •   Assault by Auto, causing bodily injury—a 4th degree crime. 

  • On September 15, 2014, Atlantic County First Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton, who represents the State in the case, made a motion—and Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Albert J. Garofolo so ordered—that William Liepe’s bail be revoked because he was a flight risk, based upon his failure to appear at trial, and a demonstrated willingness to harm himself. Liepe has remained lodged in the Atlantic County Justice Facility since that day. 

  • On March 18, 2015, after a 10-day trial before Judge Albert J. Garofolo, the jury returned its verdict of guilty on all charges. Judge Garofolo ordered that Liepe’s bail remain revoked, pending sentencing.
  • During her closing argument prior to the jury’s verdict on March 18, First Assistant Prosecutor Ruberton said, “This was not a tragic accident. This was a consequence of William Liepe’s choices. This was preventable, avoidable, and foreseeable. If William Liepe didn’t choose to start drinking at 9 a.m., if he didn’t choose to drink all morning, if he didn’t choose to get in the car and drive, the consequences of his choices— consequences he didn’t care about—would not have happened. Tell this man with your verdict that this was not a tragic accident. This was a crime.”
This morning, Thursday, April 30, 2015, William Liepe received an aggregate sentence from Judge Garofolo of 32 years of incarceration in New Jersey Prison. Pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA), Liepe must serve 85% of the sentence—or 27 years, 2 months, and 12 days—before becoming eligible for parole.
Judge Garofolo further ordered that Liepe’s New Jersey driver’s license be suspended for life.
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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