Day: March 5, 2021

Statements from County Executive Hughes and Mayor Martin on Johnson & Johnson vaccine availability in Mercer County

March 5, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– Mayor Jeff Martin and County Executive Brian Hughes release the below statements after visiting a Johnson & Johnson vaccination clinic held by the Hamilton Township Health Department at the Alvin E. Gershen Apartments.

Expressing his gratitude, County Executive Hughes stated, “just a week ago the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine received emergency use approval, and I thank the Biden Administration and Gov. Phil Murphy for laying a glide path to reach our most vulnerable Mercer County residents. We are committed to ensuring that every eligible adult receives their vaccine, and I thank Mayor Martin for his collaboration in helping us complete our mission.”

“I am grateful to all who made it possible – from President Biden to Governor Murphy and County Executive Hughes – for New Jersey’s own Johnson & Johnson vaccine to become available so quickly after emergency authorization by the FDA,” stated Mayor Jeff Martin.  “The quick turnaround made it possible for our local health department staff to organize 200 of our Hamilton seniors to get vaccinated today – all without having to leave their residence.  As more J&J vaccine becomes available, our staff plans to rotate vaccination clinics throughout our local senior complexes.  The single-dose vaccination being added as a weapon in this fight makes the light at the end of the tunnel in this pandemic that much closer.” 

Fugitive in Jackson Township fatal crash arrested in Texas

March 5, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

JACKSON TOWNSHIP (OCEAN)– Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on March 3, 2021, Roberto Alcazar-Sanchez, 27, of Jackson, a fugitive from justice relative to a fatal motor vehicle crash that occurred in Jackson Township on December 24, 2020, surrendered himself to United States Customs and Border Patrol Protection Agents in Laredo, Texas.  Alcazar-Sanchez is presently lodged in the Webb County Detention Center in Laredo, Texas, where he must quarantine for seven to ten days due to COVID-19 restrictions prior to his anticipated extradition to Ocean County.  When Alcazar-Sanchez is returned to Ocean County, he will be lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

On December 24, 2020, at approximately 6:00 p.m., Officers of the Jackson Township Police Department were summoned to the area of Cedar Swap Road and I-195 for a report of a motor vehicle crash with serious injuries. An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Jackson Township Police Department revealed that a 2010 Mercedes Benz, driven by Norman Shtab, 83, of Howell Township, was exiting I-195 at Exit 21.  His wife, Phyllis Shtab, 81, also of Howell, was a passenger in the vehicle.  As Mr. Shtab was attempting to make a left-hand turn onto Cedar Swap Road, his vehicle collided with a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado.

Mr. and Mrs. Shtab were transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune Township following the crash.  Mr. Shtab was treated for his injuries and later released.  On December 26, 2020, Mrs. Shtab succumbed to the injuries she sustained as a result of the crash, and was pronounced deceased at Jersey Shore Medical Center on that date.

The passenger in the Silverado, Jose Misael Pementel-Mendoza, 30, of Wrightstown, was likewise transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center following the crash; he was treated for his injuries and released.  The driver of the Chevrolet Silverado – identified through continuing investigation as Alcazar-Sanchez – fled the scene on foot.  Further investigation revealed that Alcazar-Sanchez then fled the United States and traveled to Mexico.  
On December 30, 2020, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Alcazar-Sanchez charging him with Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1, as well as operating a Motor Vehicle with a Suspended Driver’s License while being involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-22a.

Additionally, during the course of this investigation, Alcazar-Sanchez’s girlfriend, Reyna Mendez, 27, of Jackson, was questioned by law enforcement in connection with this matter.  It was determined that Mendez provided false information to Detectives during the course of her questioning; as a consequence, she was charged with Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3a(7).  Mendez was charged on a summons and released pending a future court date.

“I am extremely grateful for the cooperative efforts of our law enforcement partners at the local, county, state, and federal levels in connection with this very thorough and intensive investigation.  Knowing full well that he was being relentlessly pursued by multiple law enforcement agencies for more than two months, Alcazar-Sanchez really had no alternative but to surrender himself to the authorities.  Soon, he will be returned to Ocean County where he will face justice,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Jackson Township Police Department, Jackson Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Jackson Township Police Department Special Emergency Response Team, Brick Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Field Services Unit/Warrants, United States Customs and Border Protection, Laredo Texas Police Department, and the United States Marshals Service, for their collaborative efforts and assistance relative to this investigation ultimately leading to Alcazar-Sanchez being taken into custody, and his projected return to Ocean County to answer for these very serious charges.

Maple Shade man arrested for murder of Lovelle Laramore

March 5, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

TRENTON (MERCER)– A 23-year-old Maple Shade man has been arrested and charged with the February 24, 2021 murder of Lovelle Laramore, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri

On Thursday, February 25, 2021, at approximately 9:30 a.m., Trenton Emergency Medical Services were dispatched to 407 Home Avenue on a report of an unresponsive male. Upon arrival, they found 60-year-old Lovelle Laramore on the couch with two gunshot wounds to the head. He was pronounced dead on scene.

An investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department revealed that Davon Marecheau was with the victim, his great-uncle, inside the residence on February 24 at the time of the murder. Detectives were able to obtain video surveillance that recorded audio of the gunshots as well as video of Marecheau leaving the scene after the shooting. During an execution of a search warrant at Marecheau’s apartment on March 4, detectives located several thousand dollars that Marecheau had taken from the victim’s residence after the murder.

Marecheau is charged with murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon and theft. He is being held in the Mercer County Correction Center pending a detention hearing.

Despite having been charged, all persons are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Update: Rep. Smith asks National Guard chief to provide food per diem, other safe food options for Guard personnel

MARCH 5, 2021

WASHINGTONN D.C. –One day after learning that members of the New Jersey National Guard were sickened by raw and tainted food, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) today asked General Hokanson, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, to provide food per diem and other safe food options for Guard personnel deployed at the Capitol.

“I urge you to provide food per diem to help ensure safety,” Smith said in a letter to General Hokanson. “And, I respectfully request that you explore the feasibility of using one of the congressional cafeterias currently closed for the exclusive use for food service for the Guard.”

Smith requested a meeting with the General and reiterated his urgent call to immediately terminate the current food provider’s contract.

On Wednesday, Smith asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi to investigate the matter and called for the contractor providing the bad meals to be immediately terminated. Speaker Pelosi’s spokesman reportedly indicated that the House Speaker agreed.

Smith had heard from his constituents—relatives of NJ National Guard members—of tainted food that had made several Guard members sick, including at least 30 from his home state. Some reportedly were vomiting in the Senate parking lot.

            “This is outrageous,” Smith said. “The women and men deployed here from New Jersey—and frankly from every state—to protect the Capitol deserve meals that are absolutely safe and healthy.”

            “The tainted food appears to be the exclusive fault of the private sector vendor, not the Guard,” Smith continued. “Many of the members of the Guard are now purchasing their own meals, underscoring the need for a food per diem.”

Prior story here: NJ Guard deployed at Capitol sickened by bad food

Sardi’s Catering company released a statement as follows:

“We have the greatest respect for the men and women of the National Guard who bravely serve our
country and continue to protect our nation’s capital. We are proud to serve our food to the National
Guard troops who have deployed to Washington from around the U.S., and we stand by the quality and
safety of the food we deliver to the National Guard troops.

As a trusted provider of nutritious and safe meals for the National Guard, Sardi’s Catering adheres to our
own rigorous standards for food safety and quality, and we are in full compliance with all standards and
requirements in our National Guard Bureau contract as well as state and District requirements.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are required to pre-package individual meals for each recipient at our
own facilities, rather than setting up a kitchen on site. National Guard inspectors visit our facilities and
supporting kitchens regularly to conduct spot checks, ensure our supplies are up to their standards, and
that our food preparation and packaging is clean, safe, and fully compliant with federal regulations. No
issues have been recorded from these inspections.

Every delivery is inspected by an authorized representative of the National Guard and approved for
distribution. We have very clear timestamps on all deliveries indicating the exact time the food is
packaged and leaves our controlled environment, and we instruct the recipient to discard unused food
after four hours. We have no further control over the meals after they have been dropped off to the
National Guard’s Armory.

We are currently providing approximately 5,300 meals three times a day to the National Guard Armory.
When we receive a complaint referred to us by the National Guard, we investigate and take immediate
corrective action. The National Guard has estimated about less than .01 percent of the 1.2 million total
meals we have served since January 2021 have been undercooked. The National Guard has reported no
confirmed cases of foodborne illness. We have received requests from the National Guard to change the
menu — such as adding more protein to the breakfast menu and accommodating special dietary needs
— and we have made every effort to fulfill those requests.

We deliver the meals to the National Guard Armory in bulk, which are then allocated to the units by the
National Guard, so we have no control over the distribution process or the timing. It is not clear why or
how one particular state unit has recorded so many complaints, while there have been comparatively
few complaints from other state units, according to the National Guard. We are committed to providing
exceptional service to all our meal recipients, and we will continue to work closely with the National
Guard to address these concerns.

All of us at Sardi’s deeply appreciate the men and women who are participating in the essential mission
of protecting our nation’s capital. We are a trusted family business and an institution in the Washington
area, with a spotless reputation for quality, service, and integrity. The National Guard continues to
closely monitor the quality and safety of meals provided to its personnel, and we are working closely
with them to ensure our troops continue to have delicious and nutritious meals during their deployment
to Washington.”