WESTFIELD — A captain with the Union County Sheriff’s Department retired just weeks after he was charged with drunk driving.
William Bukowski, 49, allegedly crashed a department SUV into a parked pick-up truck. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and careless driving for the collision at 9:53 p.m. on East Dudley Avenue in Westfield on April 9. The incident sent a previously parked Chevy Colorado careening across a road and onto a front lawn.
At the scene of the crash, Bukowski told police a deer had run into the street in front of his county-owned Chevy Tahoe, causing him to strike the truck to avoid the animal, according to the police report.
“Through the course of the investigation (Bukowski) was determined to be operating the (Tahoe) while impaired due to alcohol,” police said in the report.
Bukowski, of Whitehouse Station, was arrested and later released to a sober adult, officials said.
Bukowski’s attorney, Joseph Spagnoli, said his client has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The case was transferred from Westfield to Mountainside Municipal Court to avoid a conflict of interest. Westfield municipal court Judge Brenda Coppla Cuba is also the presiding municipal court judge for the county, and as such, presides over first appearances at the Union County jail where sheriff’s officer operate in the court.
A court date is set for July 20.
Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan, when asked about Bukowski, issued a statement saying his department ‘takes this incident and its potential devastating consequences with extreme concern.”
“First and foremost, we are grateful no one was injured,” Cryan said. “Upon notification of the incident, all proper procedures and protocols were followed. Captain Bukowski never returned to work and retired at the end of June,” he said.
He said all 250 officers in the department were retrained on alcohol awareness for both themselves and what to look for in co-workers.