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Camden County Police Officer Faces DWI Charges In Crash That Toppled Sign

A Camden County police officer has been charged with DWI after he allegedly drove a red pickup truck through three street signs on Friday 20 June, shortly before 2 am. The crash happened at Route 38 and Church Road. The officer was removed from street duty after the incident.

The officer, 21-year old William A. Grasso of Hammonton, N.J., is facing drunken driving charges. After driving through the three street signs, he struck a building and also knocked down a neon sign for Benash Liquors in Cherry Hill. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. Grasso was off-duty at the time.

According to police, it was not clear where Grasso was coming from at that time. Grasso was also removed from police duty after the crash. The Camden County police department’s internal affairs unit is investigating the crash.

Their police spokesman Mike Daniels said, “The officer has been taken off the street and relieved of police powers as the facts of this incident are ascertained.”

Daniels said that Grasso could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. It is not known if Grasso has an attorney or not.

An accident report filed by Cherry Hill police stated that Grasso’s truck hopped a curb in the traffic circle median. It then struck two road signs before going back onto the road and hopping another curb. The truck then plowed into another road sign before it finally rammed into the longtime liquor store sign. After that, the truck hit part of a brick retaining wall and finally stopped after hitting a tree.

Grasso suffered from head trauma after all the crashes and was also bleeding. He was taken to Kennedy Health System in Cherry Hill.

The liquor store sign in which Grasso crashed had been around since 1947. According to the co-owner of Benash Liquors, Rich Brooks , the sign was considered an area icon. It was known for its red and yellow arrow pointing toward the store’s door. “The guy pretty much destroyed it,” Brooks said.

Brooks took photos of the damage early Friday after he learnt about the crash. The snapped photos show the pickup’s windshield severely cracked and the front end nearly totaled.

Grasso’s blood sample was taken to check his BAC level, but his blood alcohol content level was not released by Cherry Hill police. According to the accident report, his blood test results were “pending.”

Grasso was nominated for officer of the week in September 2013 for his “outstanding police work” as is mentioned on the Camden County police website. He is the second member of the Camden County Police Department to be entangled with the authorities while off-duty.

Grasso is scheduled to appear in court next Wednesday.

News Source: Articles.Philly.com

Leckerman