Release* Date: August 24, 2009
County Prosecutor’s Office
*News Release* Date: August 24, 2009
Clifford J. Cooley, (DOB 1/24/82) also was charged with a second degree count of leaving the scene of a fatal collision, and was charged with a third degree count of driving while his license was suspended.
charges were filed following the death Friday, August, 21, 2009, of Nicholas
Phan-Tran, 21, of
Cooley previously had been charged with aggravated assault for injuring Mr. Phan-Tran, and was charged with leaving the scene of a motor vehicle crash involving serious injury. Cooley also had been charged with fourth degree count of driving while suspended.
Court Judge Joseph Rea set bail at $700,000 for Cooley, who remains in custody
charges against Cooley were upgraded after Mr. Phan-Tran died at
An autopsy performed by Dr. Frederick J. DiCarlo, a Middlesex County assistant medical examiner, determined Mr. Phan-Tran died from blunt trauma head and neck injuries that were suffered in the crash.
Phan-Tran was injured when the car he was driving was struck at 9:01 p.m. in
the multi-car crash that was caused when Cooley, who was driving a Toyota
Scion, engaged in a high-speed race with a Honda Civic in the northbound lanes
of Route 1 in the Avenel section of
Police later charged that Cooley was intoxicated and speeding.
As the vehicles approached the Avenel Street intersection, the Honda Civic passed two cars, but the defendants’ car struck both vehicles, a Dodge Stratus, which was in the center lane of Route 1, and another passenger vehicle, which was slowing down to make a right turn onto Avenel Street.
Police continue to search for the driver of the Honda Civic, a dark-colored vehicle, which fled the scene.
impact of the crash caused by Cooley’s
driver of the Dodge, a 22-year-old man from Avenel, sustained minor injuries
and was treated at
passengers in Cooley’s car, Brandon W. Bullock, 25, and David Colvin, 20, also
is charged with hindering his own apprehension and perjury and false swearing in
front of a
In addition, Cooley faces counts of assault by auto, hindering his own apprehension and obstruction.
The defendants were charged with hindering and obstruction after an investigation determined they ran from the scene of the crash.
with information is asked to call Patrolman Gennaro DeStefano of the Woodbridge
Police Traffic Safety Unit at (732) 634-7700, or Sgt.
As is the case with all defendants, the charges against Cooley, Bullock and Colvin are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.