Officer charged after crash that killed his passenger

A Burlington Township police officer involved in a deadly crash last month has been criminally charged with causing the death of his passenger.

Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi and Florence Township Police Chief John Bunce announced Justin Rodriguez, 25 of Burlington Township, was charged with one count of vehicular homicide, second degree.

Ariana Williams, 27 of Florence, was killed in the early morning collision on Sept. 23. It happened when authorities said Rodriguez's personal Acura Integra lost control on W. Front Street and struck a utility pole near Woodlawn Avenue at about 2:10am.

Rodriguez was ejected from the car and spent three days in the hospital.

Authorities added, the charge was based on the investigation into the collision and also finding "Rodriguez had consumed an excessive amount of alcohol in the hours leading up to the crash."

Rodriguez was arrested Thursday morning at the prosecutor's office and released after posting $50,000 full bail. Now, the case will be sent to a grand jury to be considered for indictment.

Rodriguez had been a Burlington Township police officer for 11 months and was not on duty at the time of the collision.

The Burlington Township Police Department noted, "The officer has been on administrative leave since the date of the crash. However, as a result of the current charges, he will now be suspended without pay. He will remain in that status pending the outcome of the criminal case."