HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– Shots were reportedly fired while a group of people fighting, Thursday night.
The fight occurred around 11:00 pm at Lalor Elementary School on Barnt-Deklyn Road. The physical altercation, which reportedly involved at least 6 people, lead to one person being pistol whipped, and a gun reportedly being fired.
The suspects that fired the weapon fled the scene in a vehicle.
One person was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center for their injuries.
No arrests have been made. This remains under investigation.
AG Grewal, Division of Highway Traffic Safety Kick Off Nat’l Distracted Driving Awareness Month with Launch of Ad Campaign Urging Drivers to ‘Take Control Of Your Destiny’ by Making Safe Choices Behind the Wheel
Colorful Ads Remind Motorists “You Have Places to Go. Don’t Drive Distracted.”
TRENTON– As distracted driving continues to claim more lives on New Jersey roadways than any other risky driving behavior, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Highway Traffic Safety (“HTS”) today announced the launch of a statewide public awareness campaign aimed at providing motorists with good reasons to give the road their undivided attention.
The “Take Control Of Your Destiny” campaign – and its slogan “You Have Places to Go. Don’t Drive Distracted.” – will begin appearing this month in digital ads throughout the state, as well as on the internet and Pandora Radio. The ads feature images of colorfully decorated steering wheels that remind drivers what is uniquely important to them and sends a message that maintaining focus on the road ahead means they will ultimately get to where they are really going in life.
The campaign launch coincides with the kickoff of April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness month, a time when states across the country join together to raise awareness of the dangers of risky behind-the-wheel behaviors like texting, chatting on hand held cell phones, eating, and applying make-up.
“Driver inattention is the leading cause of traffic fatalities in New Jersey and we’re working to change that behavior through a public awareness campaign that uses the power of positive messaging,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We’re reminding people what’s at stake every time they get behind the wheel. We want drivers of all ages to realize that their plans and dreams for the future depend on making safe choices here and now.”
According to New Jersey State Police statistics, distracted driving was to blame for more than a quarter of the fatal crashes that occurred in New Jersey from 2015 through 2019, claiming the lives of 730 drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. During that same five-year period, more than half of all crashes in the state– both fatal and non-fatal – involved a distracted driver.
While distracted driving crashes declined for the third straight year in 2019, they still outpaced those caused by any other risky behaviors, including speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“The real tragedy of distracting driving fatalities is that they are so easily preventable. All it takes is for drivers to keep their minds on their driving and their hands on the wheel,” said Eric Heitmann, Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “Our campaign encourages drivers to put down the phone and focus on the important matter of what lies ahead – literally and figuratively. In doing so, they will be taking control of their own destinies and protecting those of all others on the road.”
In addition to digital messaging on display in rest stops along the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, and in select supermarkets across the state, the campaign includes a digital toolkit of resources available in English and Spanish on the Division’s “Take Control Of Your Destiny” webpage. The resources, including shareable graphics, informational palm cards, and a Distracted Driving fact sheet, are meant to be shared widely across the state to spread the campaign message and promote safer driving habits.
To further commemorate National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, HTS kicked off New Jersey’s participation in the annual “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign, a national distracted driving enforcement effort sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Starting today, law enforcement agencies throughout the state will join agencies across the country in a three-week high-visibility enforcement campaign targeting drivers who are texting, talking on hand-held cell phones, or engaging in similarly risky behaviors that distract their attention from the road. The campaign will run through April 30, 2021.
New Jersey is one of only eight states nationwide to qualify for and receive grant funding from NHTSA to combat distracted driving.
The funding New Jersey received for fiscal year 2021 has allowed the Division to award more than $1.2 million in overtime enforcement grants to 183 law enforcement agencies statewide for this month’s campaign. The money helps agencies pay for additional officers on the road, distracted driving checkpoints, and other enforcement initiatives during the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign.
All New Jersey police departments are invited to take part in the campaign, whether they received grant funding or not.
HTS has also commissioned a study on distracted driving through the Center for Research and Education in Advanced Transportation Engineering Systems (CREATEs) at Rowan University that looks beyond crash statistics to provide a more fulsome picture of the problem in New Jersey.
The results of the study, expected to be completed by the end of the year, will be used to develop recommendations and strategies for addressing and mitigating distracted driving through enforcement and education.
To learn more about the Take Control Of Your Destiny campaign, go to the HTS website at NJSaferoads.com/destiny.
Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced today that the City of Trenton will celebrate Easter by having the Easter Bunny visit each ward on a Trenton Fire Department truck this Saturday, April 3, 2021.
The tour takes the place of the annual “Great Egg Hunt” sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Trenton and held in Cadwalader Park since 1921. The usual event was modified to account for ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
City residents are invited to greet the Easter Bunny as he starts from Fire Headquarters on Perry Street at 11:30 a.m. then travels to MLK Jr. Blvd., Clinton Ave., Hamilton Ave., Broad St., Pennington Ave., Stuyvesant Ave., and Hillvista Blvd before reaching Cadwalader Park at 1:00 p.m. All children at the park will receive a treat from the “Bunny Patrol” free of charge. Participants are asked to wear a mask and always maintain social distance during the event.
Click here to view the routes to and from Cadwalader Park.
The event is sponsored by Trenton Fire Department, the Kiwanis Club of Trenton, Science Mentors One-to-One, N.J. Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association Locals 6 and 206 and Wegman’s Market Princeton.
Led by the considerable efforts of Robbinsville and Hamilton Townships, the State Division of Rate Counsel has formally requested the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) “proceed with an in-depth investigation to assess the functionality and capabilities of the Company’s network/infrastructure and its business practices.”
The report, dated March 23, 2021, follows a March 16 hearing where more than 100 elected officials, attorneys and members of the public took Optimum/Altice USA to task for its service, network reliability, pricing and other business practices.
Per the report, “Rate Counsel notes that Altice reached a $72 million settlement in New York to improve storm resiliency which included $3.4 million in credits to New York customers. Rate Counsel stands ready to work with the Board, the Company, the townships and other parties and stakeholders in a process that allows the Board and parties to discuss specific regulations; metrics; best practices; and examine the cause(s) of the service quality and customer service issues raised by customers, to assist in the development of a plan that provides a path in ensuring that safe, functional and reliable service is restored and maintained. This action will allow the Board to make an informed decision and issue targeted directives to assist Altice in resolving service issues and eliminating the apparent unfair business practices throughout its service footprint.”
The BPU designated Commissioner Mary-Anna Holden was the Presiding Officer and is authorized to rule on all motions in order to “secure a just and expeditious determination of the issues.”
The public hearing was held virtually. In addition to the Townships of Hamilton and Robbinsville, the boroughs of Dunellen and Sayreville, along with the Townships of Green Brook, Howell, Jackson, Montville, North Brunswick and Piscataway held Altice’s feet to the fire.
The BPU received complaints and resolutions from at least 10 municipalities and several state legislators concerning various issues their residents and constituents cited alleging inadequacy and lack of service provided by Altice USA. In the complaints, the municipal and legislative officials cited: “Frequent and lengthy service disruptions (across all services), inconsistent connections and fluctuating Internet speeds, long telephone wait times, poor customer service, and an inability to get a satisfactory response to these issues from the company both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Representatives from Mount Olive perhaps summed up the reason for the hearing best by saying: “We all can’t be wrong … and we can’t keep having it (this type of service) from Optimum.”
One municipality threatened legal action if Optimum does not improve its level of service, while other elected officials called for an independent – not internal – investigation. Many asked the NJ BPU to issue Optimum/Altice USA a formal ruling of non-compliance.
For it’s part, Optimum government representative Marilyn Davis continued the company mantra of blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for the vast majority of complaints, however most of the elected officials given three minutes to speak, or via their submitted testimonies, dismissed that tired narrative by stating Optimum’s poor performance “predates COVID-19 by several years.”
Mayor Fried’s submitted March 16 statement reads:
“It is the duty of Optimum/Altice USA to furnish safe, adequate and proper Internet and cable television service for its customers. As a leading utility in the region, they have fundamentally failed in that duty.
Robbinsville Township, along with other municipalities with a vested interest in this hearing, should not have to continuously pressure this provider to do its job. We understand these have been challenging times from a bandwidth, load, and connectivity perspective with so many employees working from home and students learning remotely during the pandemic. Robbinsville is certainly sympathetic to that. However, the myriad of problems our constituents have encountered pre-date COVID-19 … by several years. The pandemic only helped elevate these issues toward the surface so they could garner the attention they deserved.
In 2016, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Approved the Altice-Cablevision Systems Corporation Merger. The May 25, 2016 news release contained a heading: ‘Settlement to provide improved services and products for customers.’
The Merger Settlement was supposed to provide protections and improved services for customers that included, among other things, maintaining efficient customer service levels and network upgrades. The NJ BPU went on to state: The Board is confident that the settlement will provide current customers many network improvements and upgrades, as well as ensure adequate levels of customer service are maintained.
As the NJ BPU has been made aware by the numerous customer complaints submitted to its attention and my fellow municipalities submissions, there is a serious question as to Altice’s required obligations to its customers.Like all the elected officials participating in this hearing, and with the support of NJ Congressman Christopher Smith in Washington, I will fight for my residents by partnering with as many towns as necessary in order for these concerns being taken seriously by the NJ BPU. I have also taken the unprecedented step of inviting private Internet Service Providers to Robbinsville with the opportunity to build their in-home internet and Wi-Fi infrastructure in select sections of the Township. I opened my firehouse every week during the depths of the connectivity issues so my residents, many of whom were waiting several days for a repair appointment or even a call back, could go to school and work remotely. It had become almost impossible for my staff to keep up with the amount of phone calls and email complaints which stifled our municipal offices. If we do not band together and force the NJ BPU to hold Optimum/Altice USA accountable, they are going to leave these proceedings and nothing is ever going to get better. In fact, it could get worse with increased pricing that is in no way commensurate with the quality of the services provided.”
The officer responded to Walmart for a reported shoplifting. Investigation revealed that two individuals failed to scan $79.54 worth of merchandise while checking out. The individuals were arrested and later released pending court action.
Officers responded to Target for a reported shoplifting. The individuals left the store prior to police arrival. An officer located the individuals in the area and conducted a motor vehicle stop. Investigation revealed that the individuals failed to scan $54.54 worth of merchandise while checking out. The individuals were arrested and later released pending court action.
The officer responded to Conover Road near Woods Road for a single car, rollover motor vehicle accident. No injuries were sustained. The driver exhibited signs of impairment and was placed under arrest after failing field sobriety tests. During a search incident to arrest, officers located a crack pipe and drug paraphernalia. The individual was later released pending court action.
Officers responded to Target for a report of an irate man who was ripping merchandise off the shelving. While being escorted out of the store, the individual shouted profanities, charged at patrons, and threw a water bottle at patrons. The individual was arrested and later released pending court action.
Officers responded to Target for a reported shoplifting. The individual left the store prior to police arrival. An officer located the individual in the area and conducted a motor vehicle stop. Investigation revealed that the individual failed to scan $72.97 wmih of merchandise while checking out. The individual was arrested and later released pending court action.
The officer conducted a motor vehicle stop after observing the vehicle fail to maintain its lane. The driver exhibited signs of impairment and was placed under arrest after failing field sobriety tests. The individual was later released pending court action.
Leonardo Alonzo-Colomo East Windsor, NJ
31 Years of Age
Refusal to Submit to Breath Tests Careless Driving
Officers responded to a residence on Probasco Road for a burglary in progress. Officers located an intoxicated individual attempting to enter the residence through a basement window. The individual was arrested and later released pending court action.
Byron Guaman East Windsor , NJ 40 Years of Age
Arresting Officer: Patrol Officer Dylan Barlow
Location: Route 133
Time/Date: 1:45 AM, 3/21/2021
The officer conducted a motor vehicle stop after observing the vehicle fail to maintain its lane. The driver exhibited signs of impairment and was placed under arrest after failing field sobriety tests. The ind ividual was later released pending court action.
Edison Rivera-Yanza Hightstown, NJ
25 Years of Age
Careless Driving Reckless Driving
Failure to Maintain Lane Unlicensed Driver
Arresting Officer: Patrol Officer Michael Pidhorecki
Time/Date : 2:11 AM, 3/22/2021
The officer responded to the Wawa parking lot for a one car motor vehicle collision. The driver exhibited signs of impairment and was placed under arrest after failing field sobriety tests. The individual was later released pending court action.
Defendant: Diamond Holzendorf
Hightstown, NJ 22 Years of Age
Careless Driving Reckless Driving
Refusal to Submit to Breath Tests Arresting Officer: Patrol Officer Nicholas Enea
The officer responded to Route 33 near Davison Road for a report of a man in distress wandering in the lane of travel. Investigation revealed that the man was driving on Route 33 and became disoriented at which time he parked his vehicle and left it unoccupied in the lane of travel and began staggering in the roadway. The driver exhibited signs of impairment and was placed under arrest. The individual was later released pending court action.
Defendant: Robert Yuhas Manalapan, NJ 26 Years of Age
Careless Driving Reckless Driving
Obstructing Passage of Motor Vehicles Arresting Officer: Patrol Officer Michael Pidhorecki
Location: Conover Road/Old York Road Time/Date: 12:45 AM, 3/28/2021
The officer responded to the intersection of Conover Road and Old York Road for a report of a driver asleep at the wheel at a stop sign. The driver exhibited signs of impairment and was placed under arrest after failing field sobriety tests. The individual was later released pending court action.
East Windsor, NJ
39 Years of Age
Careless Driving Reckless Driving
Open Container of Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle Driving While Suspended
Arresting Officer: Patrol Officer John Cate
**The press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law**