Six Years for Lawyer Who Misled Police in Hit-and-Run of Teen

Koufos now in state prison

One year ago, a walk along Route 35 for ice cream changed the life of Kevin O'Brien.

O'Brien, 17, was on the Route 35 northbound shoulder near Silver Beach when a luxury car struck the teen and then fled miles north into Mantoloking June 17, 2011.

Craig Terlizzi, Brick, would come forward to say he was driving. But Brick attorney John G. Koufos, 35, was the man behind the wheel, and was indicted on charges of

Koufos is now in state prison, serving six years at Mid-State Correctional Facility in Wrightstown. He was sentenced May 11: three years for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident with serious bodily injury, three years for hindering apprehension and one day for tampering with evidence.

Shock over the events came after authorities revealed Koufos had a coworker take the blame for the hit-and-run, accusing the up-and-coming lawyer of hindering apprehension.

“Our investigation now reveals Mr. Terlizzi’s statements in connection with that investigation were false, and made with the intent of shielding his employer, attorney John Koufos, from responsibility for the accident,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford in a statement at the time. "Our complaint alleges he recklessly caused serious bodily injury to a 17-year-old minor, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

Witnesses reported a black Lexus speeding away from the 9:30 p.m. accident, its windshield severely smashed, police said at the time. A manhunt for the vehicle lasted through the evening, with Terlizzi's arrest coming around midnight.

A week later, county prosecutors would charge Koufos for the hit-and-run. For his role, Terlizzi, 40, was sentenced to a pre-trial intervention program, with such provisions as maintaining employment and avoiding arrest.

"Initially he was giving us a story we knew wasn’t true," said First Assistant Prosecutor Ronald F. DeLigny, of the investigation into Terlizzi. "Then he did come forward and acknowledge what did happen."

DeLigny said the case was straightforward, but still unfortunate.

"This was good police work, a straightforward case...there was tremendous cooperation between Toms River, Brick, Mantoloking police, the sheriff and prosecutors," DeLigny said.

"Anytime you have innocent people being hurt, it's tough," he added. "Our thoughts are with Kevin."

Kevin's father, Hugh O'Brien, said his family remains devastated but now has some sense of closure at the sentencing.

"We are so very distraught about the damage Mr. Koufos caused to our son," O'Brien said.

"Ocean County Law enforcement (police, detectives, prosecutor's office) did a magnificent job at ensuring justice was served fairly to all, even Mr. Koufos," O'Brien said.

Despite living a state away, O'Brien said his family was treated fairly.

"We the O'Brien family were very pleased with the way this case was handled by the legal system," O'Brien said. "I read every single comment that was posted on the prior articles and I can tell you with certainty that this case followed the letter of the law. My family and the defendant were treated fairly."

O'Brien said although the defendants — who worked in law — attempted to cover-up the incident, he felt the law was dealt fairly.

"Unlike many had speculated that judges and lawyers stick together and would sweep this under the carpet, other than what Mr. Koufos attempted himself, no coverup or special treatment was ever attempted," O'Brien said.

Koufos' sentence would carry through Nov. 16, 2016. He is currently eligible for parole Dec. 3, 2013.

Mark Story Jenks June 29, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I wonder if members of the public can go to his parole hearing, and ask that it be denied? I will if I can.
Joseph Herbert June 29, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Who was it said, "Birds of a feather stick together." Both attorneys should loose their right to practice, being disbarred is the least that should occur. For lying, under the circumstances, Koufos should be made to take his exercise with the Mud Man!
Todd McCanter August 07, 2012 at 03:14 PM
# 1, he was not drunk. Nowhere in the article did it state that any witness said he was driving in an erratic fashion. #2, he is presently suspended from the practice of law and will have to face an ethics hearing to determine if he can ever regain his license. #3, it was not a "great job" by the Mantoloking cop....his car was found parked outside of the Mantoloking Police department #4, his girlfriend was not in the car with him, which is part of the reason that she was never charged with any crime.
David Rios March 31, 2013 at 06:26 AM
You truly are an idiot. How about you research who this lawyer actually is. He is wrong for what he did. Yet again a flight or fight response. So he made the wrong choice. Yet you are talking junk. Really because you are a mature and responsible person and have never done a dumb thing in your life. Or more like never been caught. Idiot.
letsgetreal March 31, 2013 at 10:05 AM
And the Easter Bunny is real TOO! LOL


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »