Sen. Menendez's Wife Killed Man in 2018 Crash

Victim's sister says it was 'swept under the rug'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2023 6:11 AM CDT

A deadly 2018 car crash in New Jersey involving the future wife of Sen. Bob Menendez is getting fresh attention now that the Democratic senator and his wife have been indicted on bribery charges. Richard Koop, 49, was struck and killed by Nadine Arslanian Menendez's Mercedes-Benz around 7:30pm on Dec. 18, 2018 outside his home in Bogota, Bergen County. According to police records seen by, police determined that Koop was jaywalking and Menendez was not at fault, though there is no sign that any field sobriety tests were conducted. "He jumped on my windshield," Menendez told police at the scene. She said "no" when police asked if they could examine her phone, which officers tend to do when they suspect somebody has been texting while driving, reports ABC7.

Surveillance footage shows that Menendez stayed in her vehicle for seven minutes and made no attempt to check on Koop, CNN reports. She called 911 after the collision. Menendez starting dating the senator in early 2018 and married him in 2020. The New York Times reports that records raise questions on whether the senator may have tried to intervene in the case. A witness says officers treated Menendez with "striking deference" and allowed her to leave the scene, per the Times. A man who identified himself as a retired officer from Hackensack can be heard on dashcam footage telling an officer that his "buddy's wife" asked him to go to the scene.

Months after the crash, two business associates of the couple bought Menendez a brand new Mercedes, which federal prosecutors say was a bribe, reports. Koop's sister, Rosemarie Koop-Angelicola, tells the Times that she feels the crash was "swept under the rug." Attorney Sheri Breen, who secured a settlement of more than $60,000 for Koop's family, tells that he was a "loving father" who "did everything right" by taking an Uber home after going out with friends. "When he was right across the street from his home," she says, Menendez "came flying down the street and killed him." (More Bob Menendez stories.)

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