A South Jersey man pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter charges after authorities claim he was driving while intoxicated when he crashed into a marked police car, killing Mount Arlington Police Officer Joseph Wargo.
Michael Cassella, 30, of Howell, pled guilty to one count of aggravated manslaughter and one count of DWI, according to Acting Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp.
The crash occurred in October 2011, when Knapp said Cassella was driving on I-80 West in Roxbury while intoxicated just after midnight, lost control of his car and crashed into Wargo's marked vehicle. Wargo, who was 38 years old, died from injuries sustained in the crash.
Cassella was recommended to receive a 20-year prison sentence. Cassella would also be ineligible for parole on 85 percent of the sentence on the aggravated assault plea. He would be subject to parole supervision in addition to being forced to pay fines and penalties.
“The senseless death of Officer Wargo warrants a strong response from the criminal justice system,” Knapp said in a press release. “All members of the Morris County and State law enforcement communities grieve his passing, and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family.”
In addition to the prosecutor's office, New Jersey State Police, the Morris County Sheriff's Office, Mount Arlington Police Department and Roxbury Police Department assisted with the investigation and case.