Month: October 2020

Governor Phil Murphy And First Lady Tammy Murphy To Self Quarantine After COVID-19 Exposure

October 21, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A member of Governor Murphy’s senior staff has tested positive for COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution the Governor and First Lady will be self quarantining though the weekend.

See statement from Governor’s Office below:

“A member of the Governor’s senior staff recently tested positive for COVID-19. Per guidance from public health officials, the individual is currently quarantining at home. We have begun the contact tracing process to notify everyone who may have come into contact with our colleague during the potential infection window.

“Out of an abundance of caution and in line with the highest levels of commitment to protecting public health, the Governor and First Lady will be canceling their in-person events and voluntarily quarantining through the end of the weekend, and each will take an additional COVID-19 test before they resume any in-person engagements. The Governor received a coronavirus test on Monday as part of his regularly-scheduled testing regime, which came back negative. The Governor and First Lady were also tested this afternoon, which came back negative.

“From the beginning, the Governor’s Office has taken every precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19. Today’s exceedingly cautious steps are part of that ongoing commitment.”


Mercer County Homicide Task Force Investigation Leads to Charges in August Double Homicide in Trenton

October 21, 2020


See original MidJersey.News stories on the murders here:

Trenton’s Homicide Body County Now At 24 For 2020, Law Enforcement Officials Plan To Deploy More Law Enforcement

Names Released In This Morning’s Double Shooting


TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that the Mercer County Homicide Task Force has arrested and charged three men for the August 9, 2020 double homicide on Centre Street in Trenton.

Darnell Davis, 19, of Willingboro, Tyzir Hamilton, 19, of Trenton, and Treizon Thompson, 20, of Trenton, are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and one count of first-degree conspiracy.  The three men were all taken into custody on Tuesday in Trenton.  The prosecutor’s office has filed motions to detain all three defendants. 

The charges are the result of an investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force.  Prosecutor Onofri praised the investigative work of the HTF and thanked the public for the assistance provided during the investigation.  “For weeks, detectives have methodically pieced the puzzle together, identifying the vehicle and all three suspects.  But the help of the public in solving this double homicide was instrumental.  It allowed us to follow leads from the very beginning, helping to point investigators in the right direction and allowing them to connect the dots.”

“Now more than ever, we need the community to work with us,” Prosecutor Onofri continued, referencing Tuesday night’s shooting that left an eight year old and a 16 year old dead.  “This homicide case, along with recent sex assault cases, have been successfully solved by us all working together for justice, and I encourage the public to continue communication with law enforcement.”

On August 9, 2020, at approximately 7:30 a.m., patrol officers with the Trenton Police Department responded to the area of 300 Centre Street for a shooting in progress.  Upon arrival, officers located the first victim, William Irizarry, 18, lying on the street in the area of 339 Centre Street.  He had sustained multiple gunshot wounds throughout his body and was pronounced dead at the scene.  The second victim, Julius Vargas, 18, was located inside a corner market with a gunshot wound.  Vargas was transported to the hospital for treatment, however, succumbed to his injuries a short time later.



The Trenton Police Crime Scene Unit photographed and processed the scene.  Approximately 24 9mm shell casings were located.  The scene inside of the market was also photographed and processed, and blood and several individual bags of suspected heroin were discovered.

According to the affidavit, HTF detectives were able to locate a witness and numerous cameras in the area of the shooting.  A suspect vehicle was identified as a black Chrysler 300 with PA plates, along with two shooters, described as two black males wearing all black clothing and black ski masks.  The black Chrysler 300 is seen circling the area before the shooting, then parking and watching the victims for several minutes as they stood on the corner with others.  When the suspect vehicle drives up to the corner and stops, two shooters, later identified as Hamilton and Thompson, exit.  Both run toward the victims, firing multiple gunshots.  The driver, later identified as Davis, remains in the car.  Hamilton and Thompson then chase after Irizarry as he runs into the street, continuing to shoot at him.  When Irizarry falls to ground after suffering a gunshot wound, they both continue to shoot at him as he lays on the ground.  Afterward, Hamilton and Thompson return to the suspect vehicle, which flees.

Further investigation revealed that a black Chrysler 300 was stolen out of Bensalem, Pennsylvania, on August 3, 2020, and seen on an automated license plate reader camera in the area of Pennington Avenue and Reservoir Street in Trenton on August 4.  Detectives were able to partially match the license plate of the suspect vehicle to that of the stolen vehicle out of Bensalem.           

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit conducted a physical search and forensic examination of Irizarry’s cell phone, pursuant to a search warrant, and a photo was found that Irizarry posted on his Facebook page disrespecting the H-Block gang.  Detectives continued to monitor multiple public social media posts throughout the month of August of numerous H-Block gang members talking about the murders of Irizarry and Vargas, taunting and threatening friends and family of the victims.  They also referenced Irizarry disrespecting the H-Block gang prior to being murdered.

On September 1, 2020, while on surveillance during another investigation, HTF detectives observed the black Chrysler 300 with Pennsylvania plates driving in the area of Perry and Southard streets in Trenton.  While detectives were attempting to identify the occupants, the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed and a pursuit ensued.  The pursuit came to an end on Reservoir Street near Frazier Street, where the vehicle crashed into a telephone pole and the occupants subsequently escaped on foot.  Area surveillance footage shows the vehicle crash into the pole.  Two black males exited the vehicle through the front passenger door, both wearing all black with their hoods up. The black males fled on Reservoir Street toward Frazier Street and subsequently made a right onto Frazier Street toward Pennington Avenue, then out of sight.  One of the black males had what appeared to be a black handgun in his right hand.

A search warrant was obtained for the vehicle and detectives located a fully-loaded, 9mm Taurus handgun under the driver’s seat.  The handgun was submitted to the New Jersey State Police Laboratory and identified as one of the guns used in the murders of Irizarry and Vargas.  Further investigation revealed another witness who was able to identify Davis, Hamilton and Thompson as being responsible for the deaths of Irizarry and Vargas.

During Tuesday’s arrests of the three suspects, additional search warrants were executed in relation to the investigation and two more guns were located.  Prosecutor Onofri thanked the Mercer County Homicide Task Force, his Special Investigations Unit, the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force, and the Mercer County Tactical Response Team, under the leadership of Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler, for their assistance.

Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


South Brunswick Police Arrest 3 In Attempted Murder Case

October 21, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Chief Raymond J. Hayducka of the South Brunswick Police Department announced today that three men have been charged in connection to the stabbing and attempted murder of two people. The case began when police received a 911 call at 7:35 pm on October 4th of two people stabbed in a motor vehicle at the corner of White Oak Court and Bard Drive North. Arriving officers discovered a grey Audi with heavy front end damage and two males age 18 and 20 outside of it suffering stab wounds to the chest and arms. Officers immediately began medical treatment. Both victims were taken by South Brunswick EMS and Monmouth Junction First Aid Squad to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. One victim suffered a collapsed lung.

 An investigation by Detective Rick Delucia determined that the two victims and the three suspects had a dispute originating in East Brunswick in mid-September. On October 4th the men met up in the Southridge Woods Apartment Complex in South Brunswick. The dispute escalated and the victims fled in their car. The victims became lost on Bard Drive as they fled trying to get back to East Brunswick. Moments later the suspects, in a black Acura, caught up to the victims, and the two vehicles collided. The suspects exited their vehicle, smashed the window on the Acura, and began to assault the victims. After assaulting the victim, the suspect fled the scene.

Detectives and crime scene technicians combed over the scene to piece together the incident. Police recovered latent prints, physical evidence, and a nearby Ring doorbell video that captured the assault. Several hours later Officer Andre Civil located the suspect’s Acura parked unoccupied approximately a half mile away. Detectives conducted several interviews which combined with the physical evidence led to the charges.

Charged in the case –

  • Anthony Blakey age 21 of Dayton. He is alleged to have stabbed the victims. He is facing charges of attempted murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and aggravated assault.
  • Ishmael Arrington age 19 of Monmouth Junction. He is alleged to have smashed the window and assaulted the victims. He is charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.
  • Jaylon Drake age 19 of Dayton. He is alleged to have driven the suspect vehicle and assaulted the victims. He is charged with assault and luring.

Chief Hayducka said, “Violent crime is uncommon in our community, but when it occurs we will use all the resources to track down those responsible.” He thanked the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office and New Jersey State Police for their assistance on the case. He also recognized the outstanding teamwork of Detective Rick Delucia, Sergeant Mike Pellino, Officer Brian Luck, Officer Andre Civil, and Officer Gagan Chopra for solving the case.

Continuing Coverage: Trenton Mayor Releases Statement On Last Night’s Shooting Of Children In Their Home


Last night’s MidJersey.News story here:

BREAKING: Two Trenton Children 8 yr. and 16 yr., Murdered As Suspect(s) Open Fire On Home


October 21, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–See Mayor Gusciora’s statement below:

Statement from Mayor Gusciora:

Late last night, two brothers- one 16, the other just 8 – were murdered in their home.

I’m stunned by this act of cowardice and complete disregard for human life. I’m outraged. God only knows how the family must feel. My heart breaks for their loss, and I’m sorry that this city’s reckless violence has claimed the lives of those so young.

Earlier this year we reached out to our community when two children playing in a park were injured in a shooting. We asked for more unity against violent crime. We asked for more witnesses to come forward. We asked for more parents to get involved.

We’re still asking. We are going to ask and ask and keep asking until more of us stand up against the violence. Until more of us refuse to ignore what’s going on in our neighborhoods.

It’s time for this city to treat an assault on one of our residents – on one of our children – as an assault on us all, so that any person who recklessly endangers the life of another will find no shelter or support within Trenton.

We want a city where it’s not just our cameras or patrols that criminals should worry about, but the watchful eye of every resident that wants a neighborhood where their children can play safety.

And we won’t rest until we have it. We are going to do everything we can to make this right.



BREAKING: Two Trenton Children 8 yr. and 16 yr., Murdered As Suspect(s) Open Fire On Home

October 20, 2020 Updated at 7:45 am., to reflect correction made by MCPO that it was 2 brothers killed not brother and sister.

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Two children were shot and killed near a 2nd floor window of their Mulberry Street residence tonight. Trenton Police, Trenton Fire Department, Trenton EMS and Capital Health Paramedics responded to the scene. Both children were transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center where they were pronounce dead.

According to the Mercer County Prosecutors Office the shooting occurred around 10:30 pm in the 200 Block of Mulberry Street. Preliminary information is that suspect(s) shot into the second floor of a residence. Two sibling brothers, an eight-year-old boy and 16-year-old boy, were shot and killed. The shooting is under investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department.

Senseless gun violence in the City never seems to stop. This is the 5th and 6th murder in October after a rather quiet September with zero homicides. There have been 34 murders in the City of Trenton in 2020 so far this year. The highest was in 2013 when there was 37 murders.

Further details to follow this is a breaking news story.


BREAKING: Gun And Drugs Recovered After Man Crashes Car Trying To Elude Police


View most recent MidJersey.News update of this story here: Update: 9mm Handgun With High Capacity Mag, CDS Recovered From Last Night’s Incident In Robbinsville And Allentown


BREAKING NEWS REPORT: From radio and on scene reporting. Once official police information becomes available the story will be updated with any additional information and any corrections made.

October 20, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–A man driving erratically was trying to elude police tonight in Robbinsville. Police tried to stop the vehicle and gave a short chase but the chase was terminated for safety reasons. A short time later, the same vehicle fitting the description was again driving erratically in Allentown and fled north bound on Old York Road.

The vehicle appears to have lost control hit a tree and came to rest on the side of Old York Road.

The Hope Fire Company of Allentown, Allentown EMS, and Capital Health Paramedics responded to the scene.

Robbinsville’s K9 officer was called to the scene and a gun and drugs were recovered from the vehicle.

Robbinsville Township Police were on scene investigating. No official police details were available tonight.

Check back later tomorrow once further information becomes available the story will be updated with further details and any corrections made.

UPDATED: 195 West Bound Accident Seriously Injures 18 Year Old From Philadelphia

October 20, 2020 — updated

12:00 am update:

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–New Jersey State Troopers responded to a motor vehicle accident at 4:10 p.m. on I -195 westbound at mile post 19, Jackson Twp, Ocean County.

Based on a preliminary investigation a 2003 Honda Civic operated by Alexa Zendaoui, 18 year old female of Philadelphia, PA was traveling westbound on I -195 and ran off the road to the right, collided with a tree, overturned, and ejected Zendaoui.

As a result of the collision Zendaoui suffered serious injuries. The accident remains under investigation and there is no further information available at the moment. — New Jersey State Police Spokesman Tpr. Charles Marchan


Earlier Midjersey.news story below:

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Around 4:15 pm the Jackson Township Fire Departments, Millstone Township Fire Department, Jackson First Aid and Millstone First Aid were all sent to Interstate 195 West Bound for a serious accident.

The accident was located at mile marker 19 in the I-195 west bound lanes. It appears a car left the roadway, rolled and returned to the west bound lane. It was reported that the person was trapped in the vehicle but radio reports say the driver was ejected.

A helicopter was called to fly to the scene and the roadway was prepared to land a helicopter on the highway. The helicopter was canceled for an unknown reason and the victim was transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, according to radio traffic.

At 7:21 pm Interstate 195 West Bound in Jackson is closed at Exit 21 for the accident investigation and if traveling you will need to find an alternate route of travel.

NOTE: Information contained in this report is breaking news from radio traffic, on scene reporting and from witnesses. An email has been sent to the NJ State Police Public Information Officer for Official Press Information and the story will be updated once official police information is obtained.

I-295 Accident Backs Up Traffic, Injures 2

October 20, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 1:45 pm., the Hamilton Township Fire Department, RWJ Hamilton EMS and Capital Health Paramedics responded to Interstate 295 North Bound in the area of Mile Marker 58 for a 3 car crash. It was reported 2 people were transported to the local hospital for treatment from the accident. NJ State Police were investigating and traffic was backed up over 2 miles. No other information was available about the accident.

Hamilton Township Brings Awareness to ‘Imagine A Day Without Water’ Campaign

October 20, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin and the members of the Hamilton Township Council will join together this evening to declare October 21st as a ‘Imagine A Day Without Water’ in Hamilton Township.  This year marks the sixth annual day sponsored by the Value of Water Campaign to raise awareness and educate Americans about the value of water by the US Water Alliance and the first of its honoring by Hamilton Township.

‘Imagine A Day Without Water’ is a national education campaign, which aims to bring together various groups across our nation to highlight just how essential and invaluable water is, while also reinforcing the critical need for investing in our water system. Today, it serves as a reminder to never take our water for granted and through this proclamation we are hoping to emphasize this concept. 

Mayor Martin, the members of Council, and the Director of Water Pollution Control, Carrie Feuer, join together to remind our residents not to take water for granted and not just because of its value when it comes to hydration.  Without water our hospitals would close, our farmers would be unable to care for their crops, firefighters would not be able to put out fires and our restaurants would be shuttered. 

“Flushing a toilet is a task we often take for granted,” stated Water Pollution Control Director Carrie Feur.  “However, this year as we faced a public health crisis, coronavirus, our community found a reliable water service is crucial to protect our health and economy.”

“We’re thrilled that Hamilton Township is a part of ‘Imagine a Day Without Water’. This national day of action educates our neighbors and public officials about the essential role water plays in all of our lives,” said Radhika Fox, CEO of the US Water Alliance and Director of the Value of Water Campaign. “This year showed us the critical importance of water service to safeguard public health and the economy. But the infrastructure and service it takes to bring water to our homes and businesses and take it away is not free and can’t be taken for granted. We all need to educate ourselves about where our water comes from and the investment these critical systems need.”

“The residents of Hamilton understand the necessity for clean, safe water and through this initiative, I echo my call for Trenton Water Works to ensure safe and clean drinking water for all of their customers,” said Mayor Martin.  “I will not back down from this fight, it will continue to be a point of emphasis in my administration.”

“The Hamilton Township Council has stood alongside Mayor Martin in his fight to ensure Hamilton Township is provided with clean and safe water,” stated Councilman Charles Whalen.  “We will continue to support this effort until a time when we feel Hamiltonians are receiving the service they deserve.” 

More information for the ‘Image A Day Without Water’ campaign may be found on their website at www.imagineadaywithoutwater.org.

Trenton Police Department Promotes Eight Officers at City Hall

New Lieutenants and Sergeants Represent Most Diverse Promotion Class in Trenton History

October 20, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora and Police Director Sheilah A. Coley today announced the advancement of three lieutenants, five sergeants, and a new Chief of Communications as part of a new promotion class that includes the most diverse group of officers in the history of the Trenton Police Department (TPD).

“This is without a doubt our most diverse promotion class in history and helps ensure that our leadership is a reflection of the community it serves,” said Director Coley. “Above all, these are outstanding officers who have already been tested for months in an acting capacity, and I have no doubt they will excel in these new roles going forward.”

“Today’s event is a celebration of these officers’ exceptional service to the people of Trenton and will undoubtedly enhance the police department’s leadership and accountability for the foreseeable future,” said Mayor Gusciora. “I couldn’t have asked for better group of officers to honor today at City Hall.”

Gary Sondej, Howard Watkins, and Sheila Tatarek were promoted to lieutenant. Rosemarie Addar, Gregory Hollo, Walter Rivera, George Wilson, and Luis Nazario were promoted to sergeant. Graciela Cruz-Acosta was promoted to serve as the Chief of Communications.

Today’s promotions included the first African American lieutenant to be promoted in 22 years, and only the third woman to be promoted to lieutenant in TPD history and the only one currently serving on the force. Today also marks the first woman serving as Chief of Communications. Of the five new sergeants, one is African American, one is Latino American, and another is a woman.

Governor Murphy Nominates Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education

October 20, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today announced his nomination of Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Ed.D., as the next Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education.

“From day one, I pledged to select a Commissioner of Education with experience in public education. We fulfilled that promise through the nomination of Dr. Repollet, and maintain that promise today,” said Governor Murphy. “A product of New Jersey’s public schools, Angelica has worked at all levels of education and knows exactly what our teachers and students need to succeed. She is an exemplary educator and I’m confident she is the leader we need to carry our school communities through the remainder of this pandemic and beyond.”

“I’d also like to thank outgoing Interim Commissioner Kevin Dehmer for his tireless service during an unprecedented time for the Department and our state,” continued Governor Murphy. “He’ll continue to serve the DOE as CFO and Assistant Commissioner and will work alongside Angelica to advance an agenda that puts our students’ health, achievement, and well-being first, and maintains our state’s reputation as home to the nation’s best public education system.”

“I am a proud product of New Jersey’s magnificent public education system and I have dedicated my career to ensuring that the children of this state continue to get the type of education I received,” said incoming Acting DOE Commissioner Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan.  “I am extremely proud the Governor has put his faith in me to continue New Jersey’s tradition of educational excellence.”

“Thank you, Governor Murphy for the opportunity to serve as Interim Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education during this period of transition,” said Interim Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education Kevin Dehmer. “It has been a great honor to serve New Jersey school administrators, educators, students and parents. Together we developed a strong framework that continues to put student success in a safe environment as our top priority.  Best wishes to the incoming Commissioner as she continues to build upon the New Jersey education system as the best public schools in the nation.”  

“We look forward to working closely with Dr. Allen-McMillan in her new role. Strong leadership is more important than ever right now as New Jersey’s public schools continue to navigate this challenging school year,” said New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) President Marie Blistan, Vice President Sean M. Spiller and Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty. “We are committed to working with the new commissioner to ensure that our students are safe, healthy and learning and we look forward to bringing the voices of working educators to the table to ensure that happens. At a time when every classroom, virtual or in-person, looks very different than before, it is more important than ever to listen to the people who are still helping our students flourish. Dr. Allen-McMillan is taking the helm of America’s premier public school system. We can maintain that excellence and build upon it by continuing to invest in public education, respect educators and prioritize student success. We trust that, as an experienced educator herself, the commissioner shares those priorities and will work alongside us to lead new Jersey’s public schools to even greater success and even better outcomes for the students we educate.”

Since 2018, Dr. Allen-McMillan has served as Interim Executive County Superintendent for Morris County, where she supports and oversees school districts within the county on behalf of the Department of Education.

For over 25 years, Dr. Allen-McMillan has worked as a teacher and administrator in various school communities throughout New Jersey. From 2017 to 2018, she served as Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education for the Newark Public Schools system. Prior to holding that position, she served as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instructions in the Irvington School District.

She also served as a middle school Life and Physical Science teacher in the East Orange School District, the Executive Director of the Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, Assistant Principal of Clinton Elementary School in Maplewood, and Principal of the Marshall School in South Orange.

Dr. Allen-McMillan will replace Interim DOE Commissioner Kevin Dehmer, who has held the position since the appointment of former DOE Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet as the next President of Kean University in July 2020. She will serve as Acting Commissioner until she is confirmed by the State Senate.

Dr. Allen-McMillan is a graduate of Cornell University, where she received a baccalaureate degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. In addition, she received a master’s and a doctorate degree in Education, Leadership, Management, and Policy from Seton Hall University.

She resides in Montclair with her husband, Randy, and their three children, Faizah, Jada, and Jason.


BREAKING: One Shot In Trenton, More Gun Violence On Spring Street

BREAKING NEWS REPORT: From radio and on scene reporting. If official information becomes available the story will be updated and corrections made if needed.

October 19, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 11:05 pm shots rang out on Spring Street and a man was found shot in the middle of the 200 Block between Calhoun and White Streets. Trenton Police were on scene quickly and called for Trenton EMS to respond.

TEMS and Capital Health Paramedics arrived treated the patient and transported the person to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. A “trauma alert” was called due to the seriousness of the injures.

Trenton Police were on scene investigating. No further details were available at the time of this report. If further details become available the story will be updated and additions-corrections made.

There have been serval acts of senseless gun violence on Spring Street this year you can read about those below:


Additional MidJersey.News stories on Spring Street gun violence:

Yesterday’s Spring Street Shooting Victim Identified, 30th Murder Of Year

BREAKING: Fatal Shooting On Spring Street In Trenton

Fatal Shooting On Spring Street Last Night

Victim Identified In Last Nights Murder


Lawrence Township Fire Departments Respond To 2 Different Accidents Tonight

October 19, 2020

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 11:00 pm The Lawrence Township Fire Department, Lawrence Township EMS and Mercer County Paramedics were called to 3231 for an serious accident with a person trapped. It appears a person lost control on Route 1 south bound and drove up an embankment and hit a parked van in the parking lot of the location.

When firefighters arrived it was reported that one person was trapped and rescue tools would be needed to free the victim from the wreckage. Firefighters had the victim out within 20 minutes. EMS transported the victim to Capital Health Regional Medical Center.

Lawrence Township Police are investigating.



Another accident was reported at 11:36 pm on Interstate 295 South Bound near Route 1 a vehicle lost control and hit a guard rail. NJ State Police was on location and Lawrence Township Fire Department and EMS was also responding to that incident. No details were available about the accident.

Mayors Testify At NJ Senate Committee On Law And Public Safety About Utility Company Problems

October 19, 2020 Updated at 7:44 pm with testimony from Holmdel Mayor Gregory Buontempo

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Several New Jersey mayors testified in front of the NJ State Senate, Law and Public Safety Committee today about lack of response of restoring utilities after recent storms and other problems. The mayors expressed most dissatisfaction with Jersey Central Power and Light JCP&L, and Optimum-Altice USA.

The first two mayors called were Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin and Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried regarding the service of local utility companies.

In particular, Mayor Martin focused on the poor quality of service that Optimum/Altice USA has provided to Hamilton Township residents, specifically over the last several months. While understanding that strains have been put on phone, internet and cable services with such a high volume of residents working from home, the quality of customer service that residents have received is unacceptable. Mayor Martin stated that PSE&G, Public Service Electric and Gas is Hamilton’s electric utility.

Mayor Dave Fried expressed dissatisfaction with both JCP&L and Optimum/Altice USA with restoring service after recent storms and other problems. Full transcript from Mayor Dave Fried below.





Transcription of Mayor Dave Fried’s testimony before the NJ Senate Committee on Law and Public Safety. Monday, October 19, 2020.

“I had some prepared remarks, but I am going to be very brief. You will hear from all the mayors about the failures of both JCP&L and Optimum. My town is unique because it is divided between PSE&G and JCP&L, as well as Optimum and Verizon (FiOS). It really is a tale of the haves and have nots. I was Mayor during Hurricane Irene (2011) and it was so bad I filed a lawsuit against JCP&L. I made the mistake of settling that lawsuit. It was so bad during this last storm (Tropical Storm Isaias in August) that I have filed a lawsuit against them again … and this time I have no intention of settling. The idea that (JCP&L has gotten better at communication is false. It’s a false narrative. They are just as bad today as they were during Irene. If they are not giving us misinformation, they are just outright lying to us. I can’t go back to my residents and tell them anything JCP&L has told me because it is more likely to be untrue than true. We have a generator exchange program in Robbinsville because I have to provide them for my residents because I have no idea when the power is going to come back on. Meanwhile, I watch PSE&G and they are incredible. It is like watching the Yankees play a Little League team. They give me great information and they tell me where they are going to be. Bad news doesn’t get any better, but they tell me who will be the last one on so I know where to send my generators. There is a reason why JCP&L is so bad at this, and why they don’t take us, or you (NJ Senate Committee), seriously. A $100 fine is a joke to a CEO who makes millions. He then comes back here and gives us lip service, but the truth is he will go back to his board knowing he is not going to do anything, and the BPU is going to give him a rate increase. They gave them a rate increase after Irene, then another after Sandy, then more after almost every other storm. So, their failures basically allow more money for their shareholders who are out of state (Ohio). They go back to the board room and laugh. Why wouldn’t they?

“It’s embarrassing. JCP&L sets up meetings with us and they never tell us the truth. Oftentimes, when they send out communications to our residents it is the wrong information. My office is flooded with calls every time there is a storm. If I am going to take those calls and be in the customer service business, fine (JCP&L and Optimum) and give us the money so we can be in that business as that customer service front arm. I open my firehouse every week so Optimum customers without service can get online to go to school and so parents can work remotely. It is impossible for us to keep up with their failures. If we don’t hold both of them accountable, they are going to leave these proceedings and nothing is ever going to get better. JCP&L couldn’t even set up a water and ice station. If I was their CEO, I would be doing an apology tour all across to New Jersey. But, instead, they are going to ask BPU for another rate increase and they are probably going to get it. Thus, their failures will be rewarded again. When you look at Optimum, they are just as bad since they send their profits out of the country (France). The failures continue year after year. We don’t hold them accountable and we don’t give them serious fines. For mayors like myself, give us the ability to switch if we have another option.

I’m begging you. Please help us. We can’t continue to be their complaint department. We need effective change.”   


Full transcript from Holmdel Mayor Gregory Buontempo from today’s hearing.

Thank you Chairwoman Greenstein and distinguished members of the Committee for this opportunity to come here, on behalf of the Township of Holmdel, and  share with you our significant concerns regarding service delivery and emergency response of JCP&L as it relates to Tropical Storm Isaias and power outages in general.

I come here today on behalf of Holmdel’s angry and frustrated residents who are outraged by the absence of communication, the slow response and the general lack of customer service received from JCP&L.  Following Tropical Storm Isaias, our community was severely impacted by service disruptions that lasted upwards of one week. These power outages not only interrupted our residents’ lives, but it also placed a strain on the Township’s first responders who had to respond to emergencies that resulted from the prolonged period without electricity. I can personally attest to numerous instances in which residents reached out to me directly for help with dire medical needs.  While this frustration was exacerbated by Tropical Storm Isaias, the problems with response have gone on for far longer.  Holmdel repeatedly faces long power outages, even when the weather is not as severe as the storm on August 3rd


I want to give you some specific examples from this last incident.

Holmdel is home to Bayshore Medical Center one of only five hospitals in all of Monmouth County.  In the midst of a pandemic their ability to provide services to patients is critical to managing the outbreak and reducing the spread of the disease.  Unfortunately, it took 8 hours to get the hospital’s power up and running.  The hospital was within two degrees of having a mandatory evacuation which would have been catastrophic!  Such a critical care facility should be a top priority of any restoration plan.

A second critical issue involved a cul-de-sac community in Holmdel, Allocco Drive.  This is a community with many elderly residents.  As a result of the storm a tree came down across the street completely blocking vehicular access in an out of the neighborhood.  If an emergency were to occur it would have been impossible for response vehicles to reach these residents.  In situations such as sudden cardiac arrest, two minutes can actually be the difference between life and death!   Despite numerous attempts for information, JCP&L was unable to tell us if the tree blocking access was entangled in live wires.  This left our residents stuck in their homes for days with no power, no air conditioning and no access to emergency medical services.  As the Township, we would have removed the tree ourselves, even though it is not our responsibility, in order to protect our residents.  However, we were unable to do so because of a lack of information.  As a last resort, our Police Department had to station an ATV on location in case anyone needed to be evacuated on an emergency basis.  This is simply unacceptable. 

My last example is a matter of common sense coordination.  On Sunday, August 9th, almost a full week after the storm, there were two trucks parked in the Southern portion of town.  One was a Verizon truck and one was from JCP&L.  They were not working on anything.  When approached, both parties said they were waiting for direction.  Eventually the Verizon truck left because no one from JCP&L was providing information.  I personally had to step in and manage the coordination, calling my personal Verizon connections to have them come back to the site.  Eventually services were restored to the residents in the area – almost a week after the storm.  The problem is that in this instance the crews were ready willing and able to work but did not get the direction that they need.  This shows that the issues are coming from JCP&L’s lack of a clear strategy.  While our government relations contact, Frank Luna, is always very responsive and available, it was apparent that even he was not provided the information that could have improved the situation.


This is by no means an exhaustive list of the public safety concerns that we have with the response from JCP&, but in the interest of time, I am giving you these as examples of some of the issues we face. 

After the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy, the Township believed that JCP&L was embarking upon infrastructure improvements to prevent prolonged power outages. Two years ago, in July 2018, the Reliability Plus Initiative was announced aimed at enhancing the reliability and resiliency of the JCP&L distribution system.  Yet Holmdel Township has not seen improvement in service. 

The Township is respectfully requesting that JCP&L provide a detailed action plan for how it can better prepare and respond to power outages.  Specific items that need to be addressed include:

  • Status of the Reliability Plus Initiative
  • Strategy to be implemented in order to prevent future outages
  • Pre-weather event deployment procedures
  • Details of the company’s deforestation plan
  • Improved communication plan to advise residents in a timely manner of the length of outages and where crews will be working
  • Rebates to our residents for lost food, similar to those offered to customers of other power companies
  • Rebates to residents for the installation of generators given the continued loss of power 

I want to stress that we are willing to work with JCP&L in order to ensure the safety and health of our residents.  As Mayor, I am pleased that the company moved its corporate headquarters to Bell Works in Holmdel.  I know that an effective plan is possible, and we are willing to do our part to make this happen.

On behalf of the residents of Holmdel and I thank you for your time and attention to this important matter. 

Chief Praises Officers’ Actions in Safely Arresting Hotel Gunman

October 19, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The South Brunswick Police Department announced the successful resolution to a gunman at an area hotel on Friday. Chief Raymond Hayducka said, “So often you only hear of these cases when officers are forced into a deadly situation. Here officers were confronted by a gunman who threatened to harm others and was acting out. Officers used de-escalation techniques and time to safely take him into custody. This is a credit to the officers and their training.” 

The incident unfolded just after 2 pm at the Hotel Vicenza at 3793 Route 1. Officers arrived and learned that Louis Smith age 46, a guest at the hotel, had an argument with a staff member, and pulled out a handgun. Police set up a perimeter and attempted to make contact and de-escalate the situation. As police attempted to speak with Smith, he repeatedly paced back and forth between the front breezeway and rear balcony of his second-floor room. Smith kept yelling profanities at unoccupied cars in the parking lot. At one point, Smith began using his cellphone to videotape officers while blowing kisses. A team of officers, Sergeant Anthony Pisano, Detective Rick Delucia, PFC Mike Leung, Officer Ryan Bartunek, Officer Kent English, and Officer Jason Stonkus approached Smith on the second floor. Smith retreated and ran back into his room, locking the door. Officers negotiated for thirty minutes trying to get Smith to speak with them. Smith’s erratic behavior continued with him yelling about diabetes and who he was going to vote for. Officers then made attempts to contact family members and were able to speak to a sister. At 4:45 pm Smith who was profusely sweating opened the door briefly and Detective Delucia and Officer English grabbed him from the room and pulled him into the breezeway. Smith was placed under arrest and transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick for evaluation.

Detectives obtained a telephonic search warrant to search the room. A search of the room located a Taurus 9MM handgun, 2 fully loaded magazines, 27 ounces of marijuana, a pair of black gloves, a black ski mask, ziplock bags, and a scale. Smith has been charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, terroristic threats, and distribution of CDS. 

On Friday, while Smith was awaiting evaluation in the emergency room of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, two South Brunswick officers were guarding him. Smith began to act up, even while cuffed to his hospital bed. At one point, he threw urine at the hospital staff. The officers moved in and Smith spit in their faces. Smith has been charged with two additional counts of aggravated assault for spitting on the officers. Both officers required medical treatment. As of Monday afternoon, Smith remains in the emergency room at the hospital with two South Brunswick officers guarding him until he can be moved to a secure facility.

Chief Hayducka added, “Too many people don’t realize the risks and dangers officers are willing to take to keep their communities safe. This group of officers showed the best of who we are.”

Previously Convicted Felon From Long Branch Admits Unlawful Possession Of Firearm

October 19, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man today admitted to being a felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Rashon Alexander, 42, of Long Branch, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp to an indictment charging him with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Jan. 13, 2020, officers from the Eatontown Police Department received information that a man fitting Alexander’s description was staying in a local hotel and was in possession of a firearm. The officers observed Alexander – a convicted felon prohibited from possessing a firearm – and another man approaching the hotel. Officers approached Alexander, who admitted to being in possession of marijuana. Officers searched Alexander and found a quantity of marijuana in his sweatshirt pocket. Officers placed Alexander under arrest and searched him, recovering an RG Industries .22 caliber revolver from his pants pocket.

The felon in possession of a firearm charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for February 22, 2021.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensured that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson, Newark Field Division, Trenton Field Office, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, the Eatontown Police Department, under the direction of Chief William P. Lucia, III, and the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan for their assistance.

The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Matthews of the Criminal Division in Trenton.

20-365                                                           

Defense counsel: Andrea D. Bergman Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton

Bordentown Police Ask For Help With Hit And Run Investigation

October 19, 2020

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–The Bordentown Township Police Department is seeking assistance with the investigation into a pedestrian struck by a vehicle on Saturday evening, 10/17/20.

This incident originated at approximately 6:55 pm when a 42 year-old male was crossing Farnsworth Ave. in the area of Municipal Dr.  The male was then struck by a vehicle which fled the scene and continued traveling towards Rt. 130.  The pedestrian suffered serious injuries as a result of the collision and was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center where he remains in stable condition. 

The only description of the vehicle at this time is a gray colored sedan with possible passenger side damage.  Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to contact Dsgt. Pavlov at 609-298-4300, ext. 2128, or via email at jpavlov@bordentowntownshippd.com.

15 Arrested In Monmouth And Mercer County For Possessing and/or Trafficking Child Sexual Abuse Materials

October 19, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Separate investigations have netted fifteen Monmouth County individuals for possessing and or trafficking child sexual abuse materials, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Between July 21, 2020 and October 15, 2020, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit and Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force arrested individuals. Assisting in this Operation were members of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU), the New Jersey ICAC Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office, The Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes members from the following police departments: Eatontown, Howell Township, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlboro, Neptune Twp., Spring Lake, Tinton Falls, and Holmdel; and support from the following Monmouth County Police Departments: Asbury Park, Aberdeen, Middletown, Highlands, Freehold Township and Freehold Borough.

            These arrests were designed to reduce online threats to Monmouth County to decrease the market for child sexual exploitation by focusing on those individuals seeking out and trafficking in child pornographic-materials.

The following individuals were arrested:

Antonio Mejia, 38, of 806 5th Avenue, Asbury Park. Mejia was arrested on July 21, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he transmitted numerous images of child sexual abuse materials and engaged in sexual conversations with 3 males under the age of 16. Mejia was charged with one count second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual abuse materials, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i), one count of Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Manufacturing an Image of Child Exploitation Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(3), one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)iii, three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, N.J.S.A 2C:24-4a(1) and three counts of Attempted Obscenity to Minors, 2C:34-3. On July 30, 2020, defendant appeared for a detention hearing before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. was released on the condition that he have no contact with the victims, no access to social media and no contact with anyone under 18. Mejia is represented by Joy Anderson, Esq. of Eatontown.

Brody Sullivan, 20, of 2 Ithaca Court, Aberdeen was arrested on July 22, 2020 following an investigation that revealed that he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Sullivan was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexaul Abuse Material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)ii and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Sullivan is represented by Anthony Palumbo, Esq. of Cranford.

Anthony Lichtenau, 36, of 72 Brentwood Road, Eatontown was arrested on July 24, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Lichtenau was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Lichtenau is represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq. of Ocean Township.

Matthew Fahmie, 33, of 30 Northover Place, Middletown, was arrested on September 10, 2020 following an investigation which revealed that he possessed over 1,000 images of child sexual exploitation material. Fahmie was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii) and was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and restricted internet access. Fahmie is represented by Richard Incremona, Esq. of Freehold Township.

Valentin Valdetano, 20, of 359 North Bath Avenue, Long Branch, was arrested on July 31, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed and traded images of child sexual abuse materials using a chat platform. Valdetano was charged with second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i) and third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Valdetano was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that he not use the internet. Valdetano is represented by Charles Moriarty, Esq. of Long Branch.

Zachary Barnett, 24, 984 Twilight Way, Aberdeen, was arrested on August 7, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Barnett was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Barnett was released on a summons. Barnett is represented by Allison Friedman, Esq. of Freehold.

Brian Wioncek, 62 of 317 Shore Drive, Apartment C, Highlands, was arrested on September 9, 2020 following an investigation that he possessed child sexual abuse materials. Wioncek was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Wioncek was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that his internet usage is restricted.

John Hynes, 21, of 90 Bannard Street, Freehold, was arrested on August 21, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Hynes was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of disorderly persons possession of a controlled dangerous substance contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4). Hynes was released on a summons. Hynes is represented by Charles Clark, Esq. of Freehold.

Michael Townend, 19, 203 Colts Neck Road, Howell, was arrested on August 25, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Townend was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Townend was released on a summons. Townend is represented by Steven Nelson, Esq. of Neptune.

Robert Sherman, 62, of 112 Route 36, Highlands, was arrested on September 1, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Sherman was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4B(5)(b(iii). Sherman was released on a summons. Sherman is represented by Michael Polloway, Esq. of Red Bank.

Michael Pipitone, 38, of 157 Rutledge Drive, Middletown, was arrested on September 2, 2020 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Pipitone was charged with one count of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Pipitone was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by John Hogan, Esq. of Woodbridge.

George Ichkitidze, 39, of 27-08 Whistler Drive, Freehold Township, was arrested on September 25, 2020 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Ichkitidze was charged with one count of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Ichkitidze was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by Kevin Clark, Esq. of Ocean Township.

Juvenile, of Freehold Borough, was arrested on September 11, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. The juvenile was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii).

Thomas Vilanova, 49, of 133 Newbury Road, Howell, was charged on October 13, 2020 following an investigation that revealed that he possessed images of child sexual abuse material. Vilanova was charged with one Count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is currently on probation for a 2017 conviction for third Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is scheduled to appear in court before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. for a detention hearing on October 22, 2020. Vilanova is represented by Michael Wenning, Esq. of Bradley Beach.

Jamie Khan, 43 of 19 Oxford Drive, East Windsor, was charged on October 15, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he was viewing and sending child sexual abuse material while working for his employer in Freehold Township. The investigation further revealed that he was also in possession of child sexual abuse material at his home in East Windsor. Khan was charged with one Count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of  Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i). Khan was released on the condition of no internet usage and no unsupervised contact with anyone under 18.

If convicted of the first degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in New Jersey State Prison, Megan’s Law, and Parole Supervision for Life. If convicted of the second degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of ten years in New Jersey State Prison Megan’s Law and Parole Supervision for Life. If convicted of the third degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of five years in New Jersey State Prison and Parole Supervision for Life. A conviction for disorderly persons Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana exposes a defendant to a maximum sentence of six months incarceration.

Ichkitidze’s case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer, Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit; the remaining cases are assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan, Computer Crimes Unit.

Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), by calling 800-671-4400 or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

Long Branch Man Gets 40 Years In Prison For 2018 Murder

October 19, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Long Branch man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for murder and attempted murder, stemming from a 2018 shooting inside a Long Branch restaurant, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

On October 16, 2020, Miguel Camara, 42, of Long Branch, was sentenced by the Honorable Vincent Falcetano, J.S.C., to 40 years in New Jersey State Prison with 38 ½ years of parole ineligibility.  Camara previously pled guilty to first degree Murder, first degree Attempted Murder, and third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, in connection with the killing of Marco Moreira, attempting to kill Fernanda Silva, and endangering the welfare of Silva’s 5-year-old child.

Camara had previously entered his guilty plea on July 15, 2020, before Judge Falcetano.

On August 21, 2018 at approximately 3:15 p.m., Long Branch Police Officer George Samol was flagged down by a motorist on Broadway who reported a fight inside the Bom DMais restaurant and a shot fired through the front window.  Officer Samol responded to the restaurant and observed two males and one female wrestling with Camara who was holding a gun.  Officer Samol unholstered his duty weapon and ordered Camara to drop the weapon.  As the 18-year-old son of Fernanda Silva was able to gain control over Camara’s gun, Camara immediately turned to Officer Samol and grabbed ahold of his duty weapon, trying to take possession of it. Officer Samol was able to wrestle the gun from Camara as additional officers arrived on scene.  After Camara was placed under arrest, officers observed the victim, Marco Moreira lying deceased on the floor of the business.  He was pronounced dead at 3:38 p.m.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Long Branch Police Department determined Camara entered the Bom DMais restaurant and approached the table where his ex-girlfriend Fernanda Silva, her two children ages 18 and 5, and Marco Moreira were seated.  Camara threw a Final Restraining Order obtained by Silva less than a month earlier on the table, pulled out a handgun and pointed it at Marco Moreira’s head several times before shooting him. A struggle then ensued between Silva, her 18-year-old son and Camara for the gun.  During the struggle Camara repeatedly pointed the gun at Silva, firing it twice but missing her.  Silva’s five-year-old daughter was a few feet away during the struggle.

The sentence requires that defendant will serve 30 years New Jersey State Prison sentence with a 30 year period of parole ineligibility on the murder, a 10 year New Jersey State Prison sentence on the Attempted Murder charge, subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act, which requires that the defendant serve 85 percent of the sentence before he is eligible for parole and 5 years New Jersey State Prison for the Endangering the Welfare of a Child.  The Attempted Murder sentence will run consecutively to the Murder sentence, and the Endangering sentence will run concurrently, for an aggregate 40 years in New Jersey State Prison with 38 ½ years of parole ineligibility.  Camara will also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison and will face deportation back to his home country of Portugal.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Hoda Soliman and Emily Cartmell.

Miguel Camara is represented by J. Michael Wicke, Esq., of Freehold

UPDATE: 6 Charged In East Windsor Fight, Includes Assault On Police Officers

October 19, 2020


Read Saturday’s MidJersey.News breaking news story here: BREAKING: Large Fight Involving Around 25 People Requires Mutual Aid Response, One Transported To Local Hospital


EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–On Saturday, October 17, 2020, at approximately 11:11 pm, East Windsor Police responded to the area of Bennington Drive for a noise complaint. When officers arrived, they observed a large group of approximately 20 people physically fighting. Officers attempted to calm and control the situation but some of the active participants failed to comply with orders. Officers from the Robbinsville and Monroe police departments also responded to assist with controlling the situation. While affecting multiple arrests, two East Windsor officers were assaulted resulting in minor injuries. Ultimately, six individuals were arrested, charged and released pending court action.


Defendant: Essence Bolden
East Windsor, NJ
18 Years of Age
Charges: Assault on Police Officer
Disorderly Conduct


Defendant: Dana Flowers
East Windsor, NJ
36 Years of Age
Charges: Obstructing Justice
Disorderly Conduct


Defendant: Juvenile
East Windsor, NJ
17 Years of Age
Charges: Resisting Arrest
Obstructing Justice
Disorderly Conduct


Defendant: Juvenile
East Windsor, NJ
16 Years of Age
Charges: Disorderly Conduct


Defendant: Juvenile
Trenton, NJ
17 Years of Age
Charges: Simple Assault (2 Counts)
Resisting Arrest
Disorderly Conduct


Defendant: Juvenile
Hamilton, NJ 17 Years of Age
Charges: Simple Assault (2 Counts)
Disorderly Conduct


 


As with every arrest we report on: Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

BREAKING: Reports Of Barricaded Person In Trenton

October 18, 2020

Breaking News Report: From a combination of radio reports, witnesses and on scene reporting. If official information is released the story will be updated and any corrections made.

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Sometime after 8:00 pm Trenton Police and Trenton EMS were detailed to the 100 Block of Tremount Street between Beatty Street and Home Avenue for a barricaded person. A person was located on the 2nd floor in the middle of a row of houses and a police light shined on the home, according to witness reports.

The area was cordoned off while the subject remained in the home as a police spot light lit the home from the exterior. Witnesses say that the situation remained calm and it appeared that the situation would deescalate.

At 11:10 pm TEMS was detailed to the area for a “female” that needs transport to the hospital for a crisis evaluation.

At the time of this report it was unclear if the situation has fully deescalated.



Trenton Fire Department Quickly Douses Fire Saving Home

October 18, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Trenton Fire Department was dispatched to the 1st Block of South Oden Avenue near Walnut Avenue for a house fire. Upon arrival an “all hands” fire was transmitted sending additional fire apparatus to the scene. Trenton firefighters pulled a hose line and quickly extinguished a couch that was on fire on the first floor. The burned couch was removed and placed on the sidewalk outside the home while firefighters overhauled the scene. No other information was available about the fire.

NY Ski Resorts Set To Reopen November 6, With COVID-19 Restrictions In Place

October 18, 2020

ALBANY, NY –Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that ski resorts can reopen with 50 percent indoor capacity and with strict health and safety protocols under state-issued guidance starting Friday, November 6, 2020

“Scientists have told us the virus is going to become more aggressive in the fall, and right now, we are all feeling COVID-fatigue, but our micro-cluster strategy is a smart, data-driven and less disruptive strategy to get us through this season. And so far, the data shows the micro-cluster strategy is working to bring infection rates down in our red zone areas,” Governor Cuomo said. 

“Beginning next month, Ski resorts will be allowed to reopen with limited indoor capacity, which will allow New Yorkers to have some outdoor activity this winter without having to quarantine when they come back.”

State guidance on the reopening of ski resorts includes the following precautions:

  • Masks required at all times, except when eating/drinking or skiing.
  • Social distancing between parties required at all times.
  • Restrict gondolas/lifts to members of the same party.
  • Limit ski lessons to no more than 10 people.
  • Thorough cleaning and disinfection of shared/rented equipment.
  • Shuttles, food & beverage, retail service must conform to State-issued guidance.
  • Reduce outdoor capacity on mountain by 25% during “peak” days or if multiple trails are closed due to unseasonable conditions.

The Governor also updated New Yorkers on the State’s response to COVID-19. In “Red Zone” focus areas included as part of the Governor’s Cluster Action Initiative, the positivity rate for test results reported yesterday is 3.19 percent – down from 4.34 the day before.


Last year’s opening day at Hunter Mountain, NY see MidJersey.News story here: Hunter Mountain, NY Opening Day 2019


21 Cats Adopted At Trenton Cats Rescue Event Held At The Healthy Animal

Trenton Cats Rescue will be holding another adoption event at The Healthy Animal on Saturday, October 31 from 12pm-4pm

October 18, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP-ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Cats Rescue (TCR) held an adoption event at The Healthy Animal located at 1049 Washington Blvd on Saturday. According to TCR, a total of 21 cats were adopted at the event. 

TCR is an all-volunteer, foster-based rescue group in the greater Trenton area. With the help of TCR, Trenton Animal Shelter has been a no kill cat shelter for over 11 years!

Trenton Cats Rescue will be holding another adoption event at The Healthy Animal on Saturday, October 31 from 12pm-4pm, MidJersey.News will be at the event check for a future story.

For more information be sure to visit Trenton Cats Rescue’s website, http://www.trentoncats.org/ or their Facebook page, TrentonCats


Car Rear Ends Tractor Trailer On NJ Turnpike by Richard Stockton Service Area, 1 Injured

October 18, 2020 updated

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 7:45 am the Robbinsville Township Fire Department and the Bordentown Township Fire Departments were dispatched to a motor vehicle accident in the area of mile marker 58 south bound with injuries.

Luckily there is a North-South response sent to accidents on the NJ Turnpike because there is constant confusion with exact locations when people call 9-1-1 to report accidents and fires. This accident was originally reported at mile marker 58.0 south bound inner roadway “car lanes” but the vehicle was at mile marker 58.8 south bound outer lanes or “truck lanes” When Robbinsville Township firefighters went to the reported inner roadway location they discovered the accident was on the outer roadway. They radioed ahead to the north bound Bordentown Township fire and EMS apparatus that they could make the U-turn at 7A to get to the accident.

Bordentown firefighters arrived on location on the inner roadway and determined that a vehicle rear ended a tractor trailer and there was one injury. Bordentown Township EMS transported the patient to a local hospital. No word on the condition of the patient.

NJ State Police was on scene investigating the crash.


It seems with almost every call on the NJ Turnpike there is location confusion since the creation of the inner and outer roadways, nicknamed car and truck lanes. A similar situation happened on last night’s call near Exit 8. A response was sent from Hightstown and Cranbury Fire Departments and first aid squads to a South Bound accident in the area of Exit 8 “truck lanes” and the accident was actually in the North Bound inner roadway in the “car lanes” on the exit ramp. The confusion of people calling 9-1-1 had sent apparatus to the wrong location and delays responses since apparatus has to travel miles to make U-turns. It appears that the nick names “car lanes” and “truck lanes” adds unnecessary confusion the NJSP radio uses Inner Roadways and Outer Roadways for descriptions.

BREAKING: Large Fight Involving Around 25 People Requires Mutual Aid Response, One Transported To Local Hospital


UPDATED INFORMATION AND STORY HERE: UPDATE: 6 Charged In East Windsor Fight, Includes Assault On Police Officers


Go to above link for updates to story;

BREAKGING NEWS REPORT: Information is from radio traffic and on scene reporting. Once confirmed by official police sources the story may be modified, additions and corrections made if any are needed.

October 17, 2020

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 11:15 pm a large fight broke out near Lake Drive and Bennigton Drive reportedly involving around 25 people, reported to be minors. A mutual aid police response was requested from surrounding departments and additional EMS agencies stood by at the service station at Route 33 and Lake Drive. One person was transported by East Windsor First Aid Squad to Princeton Medical Center. The situation was deescalated around midnight and mutual aid ambulances and police returned.

Hundreds of Jeep’s and Trucks Take Over Jersey Shore Town

October 17, 2020

Photos and story by: Tyler Eckel

SEASIDE HEIGHTS (OCEAN)–Hundreds of Jeep’s and Trucks gathered Saturday morning in Seaside Heights for the “Jeep Show on the Beach Jeep Luau 2020” and the “4×4 Beach Takeover” car show. These Jeep’s and Trucks didn’t just take over Seaside Height’s strip, but also filled parking lots and even the beach itself! The show consisted of races and other competitions, including a competition for best car. It was scheduled from 9am to 4pm on Saturday, October 17 and was definitely the “takeover” they were hoping for.


Overturned Vehicle On NJTP At Exit 8 Injures 4

October 17, 2020

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 8:30 pm a car traveling north bound in the inner lanes of the NJ Turnpike overturned just prior to Exit 8 that left 4 injured. At least 2 were transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, others reported minor injuries but refused medical advice and transport.

Hightstown Fire Company, Cranbury Fire Company, Hightstown First Aid Squad, East Windsor First Aid Squad and Mercer County Paramedics responded to the scene. A light pole was reported to be knocked down partly blocking the Exit 8 Ramp. NJ State Police is investigating the crash.

Slow Down, Move Over! National Move Over Day

October 17, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Saturday October 17, 2020 is National Move Over Day.

Under New Jersey’s “Move Over” law, drivers are required to reduce their speed and change lanes when approaching an authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck or highway maintenance, emergency service or sanitation vehicle that is displaying flashing, blinking or alternating emergency lights.

Unfortunately, law enforcement, emergency workers and tow truck operators continue to be struck and injured or killed while aiding others on the side of the road because a passing vehicle did not sufficiently slow down and move over.

When you see flashing lights on the side of the road, slow down, and if it’s safe, MOVE OVER. If you make the move, others will follow.

https://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/move-over-law/





MidJersey.News articles involving Slow Down, Move Over type incidents:


UPDATE: NJSP Col. Callahan And Govenor Phil Murphy Provide Update On Crash; Trooper Will Be OK After Being Thrown 30 Feet June 22, 2020

BREAKING: NJ State Police Vehicle Destroyed By Dump Truck On NJ Turnpike — June 22, 2020


BREAKING: NJ State Police Vehicle Struck On NJ Turnpike Sending 1 To Hospital June 7, 2020


SLOW DOWN MOVE OVER: NJTP Car Fire And Rubberneck 3 Car Accident June 4, 2020


Trenton Man Arrested For Aggravated Assault After Striking Police Officer With Vehicle And Fleeing Scene


NJSP Troop “C” Hamilton, 10th Anniversary Of When Trooper Was Struck By Passing Motorist On I-195



Marc K. Castellano was born on July 15, 1980 in Lakewood, New Jersey and lived in Jackson until he moved to Howell, New Jersey in 2004. He was a graduate of Jackson Memorial High School in 1998 and received a Jackson PBA scholarship that year. He received his associate’s degree from Ocean County College in 2000, a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University in 2003 and a Master’s degree at Farleigh Dickinson University in 2010. Marc was a two-year starter at middle linebacker from 1996-1997 and a team captain during his senior year for the Jackson Memorial High School football team.

Trooper Castellano enlisted in the New Jersey State Police on September 24, 2004, as a member of the 136th Class and was assigned to the Troop “C” Tactical Patrol Unit #1 at the time of his death. His service with the New Jersey State Police was characterized by loyalty, fearless performance of his duty and faithful and honorable devotion to the principles of the New Jersey State Police.

Trooper Castellano died as a result of injuries received while in the performance of duty.

At approximately 10:00 am on Sunday, June 6, 2010, Trooper Castellano was walking along the shoulder of Interstate 195 West near the Exit 31 ramp in Howell Township. He was searching for an alleged armed occupant of an abandoned vehicle that was connected to an ongoing investigation when he was struck by a passing motorist. He was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, New Jersey, where he died several hours later from his injuries.

Trooper Castallano served 5 years and 8 months with the New Jersey State Police.

He is survived by his parents, a brother, his wife and two children. Trooper Castellano was 29 years old.



New Jersey Statute 39:4-92.2

Procedure for motorist approaching certain stationary vehicle.

1. a. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1 that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating red or blue light or, any configuration of lights containing one of these colors, shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

b. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary tow truck as defined in section 1 of P.L.1999, c.396 (C.39:3-84.6) that is displaying a flashing amber light, a stationary highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle that is operated by the State, an authority or a county or municipality and displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights, or a stationary sanitation vehicle displaying a flashing amber warning light pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2011, c.3 (C.39:3-54.27) shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the tow truck, highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle, or sanitation vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

c. A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500.

L. 2017, c.43, s.1.