A Manchester man who was arrested in connection with the death of an Ocean Gate cop - and a Point Peasant Beach resident - was found guilty Thursday of vehicle homicide.
A jury agreed with the police's determination that Erick Uzcategui, 34, of Manchester was drunk and high when he ran his vehicle into 32-year-old Jason Marles's Jeep on the Garden State Parkway in Toms River four years ago.
The jury of seven women and five men needed less than an hour before announcng the verdict, affirming the prosecution's claims that Uzcategui was impaired by alcohol and cocaine at the time of the collision, according to The Asbury Park Press.
On Thanksgiving morning in 2010, Marles was returning to his Point Pleasant Beach home after working a drunken-driving detail when he was killed near the Toms River toll plaza, police have said.
A blood sample taken from Uzcategui after the crash revealed his blood-alcohol level was almost twice the legal limit of .08, Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Steven N. Cucci has said.
Cucci said Uzcategui admitted to police that he had five vodka drinks and used cocaine at a motel in Seaside Heights.
Marles' mother, Patricia Engrassia, was very pleased with the verdict, yelling out "Yes," when it was revealed. She then wept, according to the APP.
"He was so special ... He left this life keeping drunk drivers off the road. Now, he's important," Engrassia said to the APP and other reporters outside the courtroom.