Saturday, July 12, 2008

A tragedy

This is a tragedy all around.

The officer driving badly.

Two innocent children die.

My condolences to the family of the two girls.

April trial date set for trooper in fatal crash

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE - A State Police trooper will go to trial in April to face charges of vehicular homicide in the deaths of two Upper Township sisters.

Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten on Friday set a trial date of April 20, 2009, for Robert Higbee, whose patrol cruiser struck a minivan in 2006, killing Jacqueline and Christina Becker.
The teenagers were returning to their grandmother's home after a trip to a convenience store for milk when their minivan was broadsided by Higbee's police cruiser at the intersection of Stagecoach and Old Tuckahoe roads on Sept. 27, 2006.

In February 2007, Higbee was indicted on charges of vehicular homicide. He faces as many as 20 years in prison if convicted on both counts.

Higbee and the Becker sisters' family were in court Friday for a status conference to set the trial schedule. He was suspended without pay from the State Police after the indictment.

The black box in Higbee's State Police cruiser is expected to play a crucial role for both the prosecution and the defense. Higbee's cruiser was traveling nearly twice the posted 35 mph speed limit on Stagecoach Road when he ran a stop sign and crashed into the two sisters' minivan. He was not using his lights or siren.

Higbee's lawyer, D. William Subin, said the pretrial motions have taken time because both sides want to be deliberate and precise, given the seriousness of the charges and the implications for law enforcement in New Jersey.

"He's anxious to see this resolved as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there are requirements. We have to be fully prepared. We have to do it right," Subin, said.

"I'm sure for the family of the victims, they would like to see some closure as well."
The next court date is 1:30 p.m. Sept. 16.