The drunk driver who hit a Nassau County police officer early Sunday morning managed to "beat the system" by getting a NJ license even while his NY driver's license was suspended. The cop, Kenneth Baribault who had just pulled over a different DWI driver, was in his patrol car when Rahiem Griffin plowed into the cruiser with his Merecedes at 75MPH.
According to Newsday, Griffin's NY license had been suspended in twice for unpaid tickets and had other citations. Griffin managed to get a NJ license last year--he dropped his middle initial-- and NJ's Motor Vehicle Commission didn't realize he had other suspensions. The NJ license was suspended in February 2008 for an unpaid ticket.
Griffin's lawyer claimed his client had "dozed off" right before the crash, and asked for $2,500 bail, but the judge set it at 200,000 bond or $100,000 cash. Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi said of DWI-related crashes, "It's not appropriate to call these accidents, These are conscious decisions by people to get behind the wheel of the car when they've been drinking."
Baribault's family is keeping a vigil for him; he suffered massive head trauma and doctors removed a piece of his skull to relieve pressure from swelling. The 30-year-old cop had been studying for his BA at Empire State College and would often take on overtime work "to pay for his 6-year-old son's extracurricular activities."