Driver indicted in connection with fatal accident

A Union County grand jury has returned an indictment against a Linden man charged in connection with an alcohol-related fatal accident that took place last December, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Thursday.

Antonio Rodriguez, 46, is charged with a single count of second-degree death by auto for causing the wreck that killed 51-year-old Carlos Arce of Elizabeth.

It was approximately 4:15 p.m. on Sunday, December 13, 2015 when Rodriguez was traveling east on East Elizabeth Avenue in Linden, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Peterson, who is prosecuting the case. Rodriguez then made a left-hand turn onto McKinley Avenue, cutting off Arce, who was operating a motorcycle and heading westbound on East Elizabeth, Peterson said.

Arce attempted to avoid a collision, but became separated from his vehicle and slid into the rear of Rodriguez’s vehicle, according to Peterson. He was subsequently pronounced dead.

An investigation involving the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Linden Police Department determined that Rodriguez had a blood-alcohol level of slightly more than twice the legal limit at the time of the accident.

Bail for Rodriguez was set at $75,000, and he was ordered to surrender his passport.

Convictions on second-degree crimes are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.