Somerset County authorities announced that on November 10, George L. Rodriguez, age 68, Bedminster Township, was sentenced to a term of five years in State Prison.
According to Sumerset County officials, Rodriguez must serve 85% without parole on charges of second degree Death by Auto, third-degree Driving While Suspended and Causing Death, fourth-degree Driving While Suspended for a Second or Subsequent DWI, third-degree Insurance Fraud, and third-degree Motor Vehicle Title Fraud.
Officials say, defendant Rodriguez was also sentenced on motor vehicle summonses for Driving While Suspended and Reckless Driving.
Defendant Rodriguez entered a guilty plea on September 23.
Somerset County Prosecutor stated the charges resulted from a deadly crash caused by Mr. Rodriguez on the evening of November 13, 2020.
On that date, at approximately 6:47 p.m., Mr. Rodriguez was driving his SUV on Routes 202 and 206 North in Bedminster when he crossed over into the oncoming lanes at the intersection of Routes 202/206 and River Road.
According to officials, traveling at 50 MPH, he slammed head-on into the victim Michael Sivulich’s, age 65, Bedminster Township, compact sedan.
Officials say, the victim who was transported to an area hospital, was pronounced deceased.
Just prior to the collision, Rodriguez was driving north in the leftmost lane of Routes 202/206 in Bedminster, approaching the intersection with River Road. Traffic lights control that intersection, and all turns from the northbound side (left or U-turns) must be made via a “jug-handle” on the right side.
According to eyewitnesses, Rodriguez’s vehicle steered left as it entered the intersection and crossed onto the oncoming lanes on the southbound side of the road.
Officials say he struck the victim’s vehicle head-on. At the scene, Rodriguez told officers that he was trying to make a left turn and that he was “going the wrong way apparently.”
According to Bedminster Police, evidence from the Event Data Recorder in Rodriguez’s vehicle showed that Rodriguez traveled at 50 MPH at the time of impact.
Police say, the investigation also revealed that Rodriguez never applied the brakes or attempted to avoid the crash.
During his guilty plea, Rodriguez admitted that his driver’s license was suspended since 2012 due to multiple prior convictions for Driving While Intoxicated.
Rodriguez further admitted that he defrauded the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and an insurance company for nearly two years.
The investigation revealed that Rodriguez had his vehicle fraudulently registered with the NJ MVC and insured under the name and address of an acquaintance.