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Questions after deadly DWI involving police officer

June 15, 2010 3:58:26 PM PDT
His own police department says this detective was drunk and speeding when he killed a man, so why is he still working and still a detective?

A victim's family wants to know if a Newark, New Jersey detective received special treatment.

For more than a week, we have been trying to set up an interview with Newark's Police Director concerning our investigation. We've been ignored.

We caught up with Newark detective Mark Hulse as he headed into work at this precinct on a recent morning.

Back to work after six-month suspension. Back to work even though his own police department found him guilty of being drunk and speeding when, off-duty, he struck and killed a man named John Marques on this Newark street in July of 2008. The impact was so violent, some of Marques' limbs were severed.

An internal police department memo that we obtained put Hulse's speed at 73 miles an hour in a 25 mile an hour zone and his blood alcohol content at .12. The legal limit is .08

So you're probably wondering, how did someone who is supposed to uphold the law and is found to have broken it by his own department, still on the job? And why wasn't Hulse criminally charged?

WALLACE: "Do you think they didn't charge him because he was a cop?"
LUCIA PIRES: "Yeah. Yeah. I think that. What other conclusion could I come to?"

Pires, the victim's ex-wife, claims she and the couple's two teenage children were largely kept in the dark about the criminal investigation into the accident by the Essex County Prosecutor.

"There was no communication with the family," she said.

The family says it was stunned to learn that months after the accident, a grand jury had failed to indict Officer Hulse.

"There's no doubt in my mind that had it been anyone else they would currently be in jail for manslaughter. There is no doubt in my mind," Pires said. "Anyone else would have been charged given those circumstances, but because he was a cop I basically think he got away with it."

Our investigation raises questions about how this case was handled from the very beginning.

Police records show Officer Hulse, on his way back from a club at 3:00 a.m., ran from the accident scene to the nearby 3rd precinct allegedly to get help for the victim, but was it also to get protection for himself. He was never given a breathalyzer.

"Somebody died, and it was 3 0'clock in the morning, and you're coming from the nightclub and no breathalyzer? If it were me or you, you know we'd have a breathalyzer done immediately," Pires said.

Hulse remained at the precinct for two and a half hours without giving any statement.

Later, complaining of dizziness and other minor ailments, he went to the hospital. Blood wasn't drawn until more than four hours after the accident. His blood alcohol level then registered .058, but an alcohol expert consulted by the Prosecutor's office put the intoxication level at the time of the accident at .12, adding that it resulted in significant impairments.

"Had it been me, or any normal citizen, I believe there would have been charges and they would have been put in jail," Marques' son, Matthew, said. "I think it's wrong, I don't believe he should be back at work. I personally believe he should be in jail, serving time."

And why is he back at work? Officer Hulse wouldn't answer that question while we were at the precinct. A police spokesman showed up. He wouldn't answer that question either.

We were told to put in a formal request to interview the Police Director. We did. No response.

"He was speeding. He was drunk. He killed someone and he still has a job and pension in the state of New Jersey. Don't get it," said Pires.

The Essex County Prosecutor's Office told Eyewitness News it believes the criminal case was handled properly and it respects the grand jury's decision.

The office did take a second look at this case after we contacted them.

Sources tell us the FBI may be pursuing a civil rights investigation and we've learned there may be witnesses who have not yet come forward who were at the precinct the night of the accident. They may have possible information about a police cover-up.

If you have a tip about this or any other issue you'd like investigated, please give our tipline a call at 877-TIP-NEWS. You may also e-mail us at the.investigators@abc.com and follow Jim Hoffer on Twitter at twitter.com/nycinvestigates


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