Decades ago, state laws regarding drunk driving were relatively lenient. Of course, the lax nature of the older drunk driving laws has only truly become apparent in recent years, after lawmakers made penalties far harsher than they once were. In most U.S. states, the penalties for driving under the influence include loss of license, hefty fines, and in the worst cases, significant jail time for repeat offenders. The stakes are even higher when innocent people are killed in accidents dealing with alcohol.
Years ago, getting pulled over for swerving listlessly in the road didn’t mean you were going to jail—in fact, in most cases, the police would take the time to drive you home! In many cases, the police would put drunk drivers in the back of their cruisers and drive them to where they needed to go. Once they left, you could resume your drinking antics. And while this mitigated the immediate threat of a drunk driver on the road, these actions by law enforcers did very little to change people’s behavior. People continued to drive drunk, knowing that the consequences would be modest, at the very worst. Instead, people abused the privilege of driving to a point where they were killing innocent people; car accidents involving alcohol, sadly, became commonplace.
On Sunday, April 19, 2015, Lieutenant Ed Zaroga was driving his car on Sharp Street in Millville, New Jersey. Zaroga was a police officer for the Millville Police Department for more than a decade. He had even been heralded for whistleblowing when an officer at the department had been ticket-fixing some years ago. Sadly, that elevated reputation has now taken a sharp turn for the worse.
In the early morning hours of April 19, Zaroga was off duty and driving fast. He was also very drunk. According to nj.com, Zaroga was speeding into an intersection when he struck another vehicle. He and the driver of the other car were rushed to the hospital. Their conditions are presently unknown. The Millville Police Department has declined to comment on Zaroga’s status in the department until further investigations are being conducted.