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Bills Point of View: IT’S NOT THE DOG’S FAULT!

TIPS AND SNIPPETS: Accident Cover Up Results in New Mandate by State Police Superintendent

By Bill Cleary


(CNBNEWS.NET) As a result of the alleged cover up of a trooper’s 2009 traffic accident in Camden County  State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes has ordered stricter policies on alcohol related motor vehicle incidents The Star Ledger reported today May 15. 


According to a internal State Police memo Detective Sgt. William Billingham, an undercover trooper who carried a false identify, rear-ended Clayton Tanksley of Philadelphia in March 2009 on Route 295, Lawnside, Camden County. He was off duty at the time of the accident driving an unmarked trooper car.


Billingham was not suspended or charged until two years after the accident, and prosecutors now allege he was drunk at the time of the crash.


The Star Ledger reported that Billingham’s fellow troopers put his undercover information on the accident report and forwarded it to Tanksley’s insurance company, sending him and his lawyer on a fruitless search to recoup thousands of dollars in medical bills. 


Billingham is a former Gloucester City Police Officer and the brother of Camden County Sheriff Chuck Billingham, also a former Gloucester City Police Officer and a past mayor of Gloucester City. Both men grew up in Gloucester City. Because of his brother's position the court case has been referred to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.


The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office along with the American Civil Liberties Union are conducting separate internal investigations into the crash.


The use of fictitious information is a central issue in the response to Billingham’s crash, which happened before dawn on March 22, 2009, on Route 295 in Lawnside.


After the accident, Tanksley’s lawyer filed a lawsuit against Billingham’s undercover identity in an unsuccessful attempt to collect damages.

"It was a convenient way to throw everyone off the track," said the lawyer, Jeffrey Pooner. "It gave the guys who wanted to commit this fraud an opportunity to do so."


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