Classic Signals: Faculty caught with coke

By Elise Schoening
Features Editor

Every week, Features Editor Elise Schoening hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.

What happens on spring break stays on spring break, unless you are an official of the College, that is. In 2004, The Signal reported that former College official and Ewing Mayor Al Bridges was charged with possessing crack cocaine. Bridges worked at the College until 2002, but the drug charges at hand date back to February 2000.

Al Bridges, former vice president to the dean of Admissions at the College and Ewing mayor, pleaded guilty on Feb. 18 to possessing crack cocaine. The charges allege that Bridges was in possession of the drugs while he was mayor of Ewing, vice president to the dean of Admissions at the College and vice president of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

Bridges cooperated with the US attorney’s office and entered the guilty plea. As part of the plea Bridges agreed to assist the government in investigating and prosecuting others involved with drugs.

Also in accordance with the plea, Bridges waived his right to appeal the charge. Bridges’s sentencing is scheduled for May 24. Until then he is free on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

Bridges could face up to a year in prison, $100,000 in fines or a combination of the two. If he cooperates with authorities in other drug investigations he could receive a lesser sentence.

According to The Times of Trenton, Bridges admitted to U.S. District Judge Garret E. Brown that he was in possession of 0.8 of a gram of crack cocaine on Feb. 10, 2000.

Lisa Van Hoeck, Bridges’ attorney and Trenton federal public defender declined to comment on the case.

According to College President R. Barbara Gitenstein, Bridges’s career at the College was long and wonderful.

Bridges retired effective June 1, 2002 but stopped working at the College in April 2002.

During his last year at the College, “Bridges worked in government relations because he had wonderful contacts throughout the state,” Gitenstein said. “He knew everyone and was kind to everyone.”

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office also declined to comment on the case.

According to The Times, the alleged incident occurred in 1999 in Bensalem, Pa. Bensalem police were investigating a carjacking case when they found Bridges’s municipal car was in the trailer park.

Bridges said he had tire trouble and left the car there. Drug paraphernalia was discovered under the front seat. Bridges was surprised by the discovery.

The Ewing police department knew investigating Bridges would create a conflict of interest so they contacted the Mercer County prosecutor’s office.