News Department

Man pleads guilty to assault by auto in head-on DWI crash in Sussex County

NEWTON, NJ (Sussex County) – A Pennsylvania man has entered a guilty plea to assault by auto and DWI charges, according to Acting Sussex County Prosecutor Annmarie Taggart.

James Van Auken, 30, of North Versailles pled guilty on March 27 to fourth-degree assault by auto, driving while intoxicated before the Honorable Michael C. Gaus, J.S.C. at the Sussex County Courthouse in Newton, Taggart said.

Van Auken admitted to recklessly driving while under the influence of alcohol which subsequently lead to a head-on motor vehicle accident, Taggart said.

He was simultaneously sentenced on the DWI charge to six months loss of driving privileges, interlock during the suspension period and fifteen months following the suspension, twelve hours of Intoxicated Driver Research Center, and $690 in fines and fees, Taggart said.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 5.

Van Auken was represented by Daniel F. Palazzo, Esq., and the State was represented by Special Deputy Attorney General and Acting Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Brent M. Rafuse.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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