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Family Of Slain Trooper Sues Over His Death, Get Awarded $2.4M

The family of a New Jersey state trooper killed in the line of duty was awarded a $2.4 million settlement.

​Cinnaminson, NJ – The family of a New Jersey state trooper killed on duty while working the scene of a highway crash has settled a lawsuit for about $2.4 million, according to the family’s attorney.

On at March 7, 2016, just after 8 p.m., Trooper Sean Cullen was killed at the scene of a crash and car fire when another vehicle failed to slow down and move over at the sight of the accident scene.

Trooper Cullen, 31, was responding to a collision that occurred when Willard Hamilton Jr. hit a car driven by Dajuan Wagner. Wagner was a high school basketball star from Camden who later played in the NBA.

The trooper tried to cross Interstate 295 in West Deptford to get to a burning vehicle, but was struck by Stephanie Desousa, 22, who was driving along the same stretch of highway.

The New Jersey Law Journal reported Desousa failed to “move over” when she encountered the crash scene, according to John Dodig, the attorney for Trooper Cullen’s estate.

Trooper Cullen, a native of Dublin, Ireland who had moved to the United States when he was three, died at the hospital several hours later, according to the lawsuit filed in Gloucester County Superior Court by the trooper’s fiancé, Aryn McCormick, and his father, Eamonn Cullen.

New Jersey Advance Media reported that Desousa’s insurance carrier, Liberty Mutual Insurance, was paying $2.25 million of the total settlement.

Hamilton’s insurer, Plymouth Rock Insurance Co., agreed to pay $100,000. USAA agreed to pay $25,000 on behalf of Wagner.

The New Jersey Law Journal reported that the family is in the process of receiving the settlement money.

Trooper Cullen had been with the New Jersey State Police for about two years. Before that, he served as a police officer Sea Isle City and Mount Holly.

“If you met him, you would never forget him,” Mount Holly Captain Richard Spitler said, according to New Jersey Advance Media. “You wanted to be around him.”

Trooper Cullen was raised in Cinnaminson Township and was an All-American wrestler at Lycoming College, according to New Jersey Advance Media.

His fiancé gave birth to the trooper’s son just five months after he was killed.

A New Jersey law passed in 2016 allows Conor and his brother Seamus to get 70 percent of their father’s last salary until they turn 18, or until 25 if they enroll in college, according to New Jersey Advance Media.

AndrewBlake - January Wed, 2018


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