Last week, Mount Olive police officers were in for quite a surprise when they investigated a four-car pileup that temporarily shut down Route 206 and sent three (3) drivers to the hospital.
Hasbrouck Heights resident Michael Prendergast was driving the car that rear-ended the front vehicle in the accident. Later, when police officers were investigating the crash, Mr. Prendergast consented to a search of his vehicle. The search of Mr. Prendergast’s vehicle turned up marijuana, methamphetamine, and a hypodermic needle.
Mr. Prendergast was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Additionally, Mr. Prendergast was issued a summons for careless driving.
Of course, a summons for careless driving is the least of Mr. Prendergast’s concerns. Marijuana possession in New Jersey is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, which makes it illegal for a person to have a controlled dangerous substance such as marijuana. The penalties can vary, depending on the amount of marijuana in question. If Mr. Prendergast had 50 grams or less in his vehicle, he could be charged with a disorderly persons offense, subjecting him to penalties of up to six (6) months in jail and a $1,000.00 fine. However, if Mr. Prendergast had more than 50 grams of marijuana in his vehicle, he could be looking at added jail time – perhaps even an 18-month jail sentence.
Because the drugs were found in Mr. Prendergast’s car, he is subject to additional penalties set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:39:4-49.1. If convicted, Mr. Prendergast could have his driver’s license suspended for a period of two (2) years
Mr. Prendergast was released on his own recognizance, but he will have to return for a court appearance in Mount Olive Municipal Court.
For more information, see the NJ.com article entitled “Man Who Caused Four-Car Crash on Route 206 Had Methamphetamine and Marijuana, Cops Say.”