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Causing or risking widespread injury or damage

2C:17-2. Causing or risking widespread injury or damage

a. (1) A person who, purposely or knowingly, unlawfully causes an explosion, flood, avalanche, collapse of a building, release or abandonment of poison gas, radioactive material or any other harmful or destructive substance commits a crime of the second degree. A person who, purposely or knowingly, unlawfully causes widespread injury or damage in any manner commits a crime of the second degree.

(2) A person who, purposely or knowingly, unlawfully causes a hazardous discharge required to be reported pursuant to the “Spill Compensation and Control Act,” P.L.1976, c. 141 (C.58:10-23.11 et seq.) or any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, or who, purposely or knowingly, unlawfully causes a release or abandonment of hazardous waste as defined in section 1 of P.L.1976, c. 99 (C.13:1E-38) or a toxic pollutant as defined in section 3 of P.L.1977, c. 74 (C.58:10A-3) commits a crime of the second degree. Any person who recklessly violates the provisions of this paragraph is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

b. A person who recklessly causes widespread injury or damage is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

c. A person who recklessly creates a risk of widespread injury or damage commits a crime of the fourth degree, even if no such injury or damage occurs. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the third degree if the risk of widespread injury or damage results from the reckless handling or storage of hazardous materials. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the second degree if the handling or storage of hazardous materials violated any law, rule or regulation intended to protect the public health and safety.

d. A person who knowingly or recklessly fails to take reasonable measures to prevent or mitigate widespread injury or damage commits a crime of the fourth degree, if:

(1) He knows that he is under an official, contractual or other legal duty to take such measures; or

(2) He did or assented to the act causing or threatening the injury or damage.

e. For purposes of this section, widespread injury or damage means serious bodily injury to five or more people or damage to five or more habitations or to a building which would normally have contained 25 or more persons at the time of the offense.