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State Police Department Settles With Accident Victim for $150,000

Posted on Jul 24, 2014

In 2009, Clayton Tanksley, a Philadelphia resident, was violently rear ended by Detective Stg. William Billingham in Camden County. Billingham was driving a New Jersey state police vehicle. Billingham was reportedly driving under the influence of alcohol. However, when fellow state troopers got to the scene instead of honestly reporting the incident, they used Billingham’s undercover identity on the report and did not report the drunk driving. Tanksley and his lawyer were essentially sent on a wild goose chase to attempt to recover the damages Tanksley sustained in the accident, many of which were medical. Tanksley realized that he was looking for the wrong person when the Star Ledger reported a story about the state trooper and an investigation of the incident.

Billingham was cited in municipal court for the incident but not as a drunk driver. He was given a reckless driving charge and suspended from the force. He was then accused of fourth-degree charge of assault by a motor vehicle to which he plead not guilty. Billingham’s insurance is also denying Tanksley any compensation for damages and medical expenses even if a jury convicted him because he was not “acting in an official capacity”. The criminal investigation regarding the charge is still ongoing.

Tanksley was awarded $150,000 by the state as part of a settlement in which the State Police admitted no wrongdoing. The department seems to have dished out inconsequential disciplinary action but according to the department spokesperson did not discuss the details on the grounds that they were “confidential”.



Baxter, Christopher . "N.J. pays $150K to man injured in crash with drunk State Police detective." NJ.com. New Jersey On-Line LLC, 24 July 2014. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/07/nj_pays_150k_to_man_injured_in_crash_with_drunk_state_police_trooper.html>.

Megerian, Chris. "N.J. State Police troopers face strict new DWI policies." NJ.com. New Jersey On-Line LLC, 15 May 2011. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/05/nj_state_police_troopers_face.html>.


Joseph M. Ghabour
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