Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ex-Auxiliary Cop Gets 5 Years in Biker's Death Officer Apologizes for Coverup

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ex-Auxiliary Cop Gets 5 Years in Biker's Death Officer Apologizes for Coverup

Article excerpt

A former Paterson auxiliary police officer who fled the scene of a crash in which a motorcyclist he was pursuing was killed, then tried to cover up the fatal accident, was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday.

The ex-auxiliary, Juan Martinez, said: "I think about this every night."

Martinez, 33, said at his sentencing in state Superior Court in Paterson that "I know I made a mistake, a big mistake, and I am really sorry for what happened."

Authorities said Martinez and Lopez were driving in the 1st Ward in Paterson in an unmarked Jeep on April 17, 2012, when Randolph Waddy IV of Garfield, 31, passed them on a motorcycle. The officers warned him to slow down and later began following him, with their siren and flashing lights on, authorities said.

Waddy picked up speed, lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into the back of a parked car on North First Street, they said. He later died from his injuries at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.

Prosecutors said Martinez and Lopez were not authorized to conduct traffic stops. They said the two officers failed to stop after the crash and did not notify their superiors about it.

"They left him on the street, dying," Paul DeGroot, a Passaic County chief assistant prosecutor, said at the sentencing. "They had a duty and an obligation that they just disregarded."

Martinez admitted that he and his partner, Jonathan Lopez, failed to report the crash to their supervisors and even tried to cover it up by claiming that the radio in their unmarked car was not working.

They were charged with official misconduct. Martinez, a 12-year veteran volunteer who was driving the Jeep, later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit official misconduct. Lopez, who had been a volunteer for six years and was acting as Martinez's partner, pleaded guilty to hindering apprehension and will likely receive a probationary term when he is sentenced on March 6. …

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