Newark man admits to leading police on chase that ended in fatal wreck

A Newark man has admitted to being responsible for leading police on a vehicle pursuit that ended with the wreck that killed his girlfriend nearly two years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Tuesday.

David Graham, 44, pleaded guilty to a single count of second-degree death by auto before state Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Donohue.

Graham was the driver and 45-year-old Regina Rowland of Orange was a passenger in a pickup truck heading through Union Township on August 23, 2013 when a patrol vehicle attempted to pull him over, according to Union County Homicide Task Force Supervisor Michael Henn, who is prosecuting the case. But Graham sped away, Henn said, leading police on a pursuit through several areas of Union Township before ultimately pulling onto Route 22 East in Hillside.

Attempting to squeeze between two vehicles ahead of him on the highway, Graham struck both, lost control of the pickup truck, and crashed into a fence and then a telephone pole in front of a business, according to the investigation. He then attempted to climb out of the wrecked truck and flee the area on foot, but was arrested by arriving officers.

Rowland was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 26, 2015 before Judge Donohue, at which time Graham is expected to be sentenced to 10 years in state prison, with at least 85 percent of that term to be served prior to the possibility of parole.