Day: May 13, 2021

Lacrosse: Notre Dame 6 At Allentown 7

May 13, 2021

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The visiting Notre Dame boys lacrosse team lost to Allentown High School this afternoon. The final score was Notre Dame 6 Allentown 7.

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East Windsor Man Charged With Animal Cruelty Admitted Into PTI Program

The PTI program requires him to complete 40 hours of community service, pay fines and costs associated with the case, obtain/maintain employment, and report to a supervising probation officer as directed for a three-year period.  He is also forbidden from owning or possessing any animals during the term of PTI.

May 13, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A 36-year-old East Windsor man charged in February 2020 with animal cruelty was admitted into the pretrial intervention program (PTI) this week, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

On Thursday afternoon, May 13, 2021, Matthew Wydrinski entered a plea of not guilty to an accusation charging him with third-degree animal cruelty before Mercer County Superior Court Judge J. Adam Hughes.  Wydrinski’s participation in the PTI program requires him to complete 40 hours of community service, pay fines and costs associated with the case, obtain/maintain employment, and report to a supervising probation officer as directed for a three-year period.  He is also forbidden from owning or possessing any animals during the term of PTI.

This case relates to an incident that occurred in East Windsor Township in November 2019.  At that time, an internet post was created for the purpose of obtaining assistance for a sick dog.  Authorities learned that the dog referenced in the post – a seven-year-old pit bull – later died as the result of being severely undernourished.  On February 13, 2020, Wydrinski was charged with third-degree animal cruelty for failing to provide the animal with necessary care. 

According to the New Jersey Courts website, PTI provides defendants, generally first-time non-violent offenders, with opportunities for alternatives to the traditional criminal justice process of ordinary prosecution.  PTI seeks to render early rehabilitative services when such services can reasonably be expected to deter future criminal behavior.

Pursuant to 2C:44-1(e), unless certain factors are present, there is a presumption of non-incarceration for convictions of third-degree crimes.  None of those factors were present in this case.  Additionally, Wydrinski is 36 years old with no criminal history of any kind.  PTI is specifically designed to allow defendants with no criminal record to avail themselves of supervisory treatment rather than incarceration in certain situations.  Lastly, none of the presumptive factors against admission into PTI set forth in 2C:43-12(b)(2) apply.

“Currently, the New Jersey Legislature does not classify animal cruelty crimes as crimes of violence.  I am aware that steps are being taken in the Legislature to change this classification and remove animal cruelty crimes from the purview of PTI,” Prosecutor Onofri said.  “Regardless of my personal views on animal cruelty laws, I am bound to enforce the law as it is written.  Until such time as animal cruelty laws are changed, PTI will remain an appropriate and common resolution to these types of crimes.”

18 Year Old Newark Man Pleads Guilty For Sept. 7, 2020 Jenkinson’s Beach Stabbings

May 13, 2021

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on May 13, 2021, Juwan Roman, 18, of Newark, pled guilty before the Honorable Wendel E. Daniels, P.J.Cr.P., to two counts of Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1), as well as Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d, relative to an incident that occurred in Point Pleasant Beach during the afternoon hours of September 7, 2020. Roman was 17 years of age when these crimes occurred. Earlier this week, he voluntarily waived jurisdiction of the Family Court — which handles juvenile delinquency matters — and agreed to be prosecuted as an adult; Roman’s guilty plea to these charges was contemplated in connection with his voluntary waiver to Criminal Court. At the time of his sentencing on July 9, 2021, the State will recommend that Roman be sentenced to a term of seven years New Jersey State Prison, subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.

On September 7, 2020, at approximately 3:30 p.m., the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department responded to multiple 911 calls for reports of a fight on Jenkinson’s Beach. Responding Officers found Alex Galdamez, 22, and William Mazariego, 18, both of West Haverstraw, New York, suffering from multiple stab wounds. Both individuals were taken to Jersey Shore Medical Center for treatment of their injuries.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit and Point Pleasant Beach Police Department revealed that Roman was the individual responsible for stabbing both Mr. Galdamez and Mr. Mazariego. Roman was taken into custody without incident at the scene, and has been lodged in the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center since his apprehension on September 7, 2020.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the hard work and diligence of Chief Juvenile Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Pierro and Assistant Prosecutor Madeline Buczynski who handled the case on behalf of the State. Additionally, Prosecutor Billhimer applauds the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Point Pleasant Beach Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Jenkinson’s Lifeguards, Jenkinson’s security staff and management for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation, ultimately leading to Roman’s guilty pleas, and soon, his state prison sentence.

Related coverage:

18 Year Old Newark Man Pleads Guilty For Sept. 7, 2020 Jenkinson’s Beach Stabbings

Arrests Made In Point Pleasant Beach Stabbings, Victims Identified

Newark Teen Sentenced To 7 Years In State Prison For Aggravated Assault Stabbing At Jenkinson’s In Point Pleasant Beach

National Police Week: 2021 Police Unity Tour Chapter 10

March 13, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

Riders of the 2021 Police Unity Tour Chapter 10 biked hundreds of miles over a period of three days, despite not being able to ride into Washington, DC.

Organized in May 1997, The primary purpose of the Police Unity Tour “We Ride For Those Who Died” is to raise awareness of Law Enforcement Officers who have died in the line of duty. They also raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC.

This years ride began on May 9. Bikers began their first day by riding from Eatontown, NJ to Atlantic City, NJ, totaling 97 miles. During this ride, they made stops at the Ocean County Police Academy for a memorial ceremony, and did a ride-by at the Trooper Castellano Memorial on Route 195 in Howell, before ending their first day in Atlantic City.

The next day, riders began in Atlantic City, and ended their day in Lewes, DE, including the ferry from Cape May, NJ to Lewes. On this day, bikers rode a total of 72 miles.

On day three, the last day of the tour, riders continued from Lewes, DE to Annapolis, MD, totaling 90 miles.

All together, bikers rode nearly 260 miles to honor law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

The Police Unity Tour usually consists of four days, however this year the fourth day was stolen from them by officials of Washington, DC. Unfortunately, officials would not grant the organization permits for the ride, nor ceremony at the memorial, claiming covid concerns and that it could “incite unrest.”

Despite politics stealing their ride through DC, riders did a great job this year to raise support for the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice when they left their families to protect ours.

Mercer County agencies that participated in the ride are Princeton Township Police, East Windsor Township Police, Robbinsville Township Police, Trenton Police, Ewing Township Police, and New Jersey State Police.

Hamilton Township, Hamilton Township School District & Olden Pharmacy Announce COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for Students Ages 12+

May 13, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– In a collaborative effort, Hamilton Township, the Hamilton Township School District (HTSD) and Olden Pharmacy will be hosting a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for students ages 12+ on Monday, May 17, 2021 at Crockett Middle School by appointment only.

It was announced this week that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer vaccine be made available to administer to children ages 12-15 years. Prior to this decision, the Pfizer vaccine was only approved for individuals age 16 and above.

In a formal statement, the CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said, “For vaccination to do its job, we must do our critical part. That means vaccinating as many people as possible who are eligible. This official CDC action opens vaccination to approximately 17 million adolescents in the United States and strengthens our nation’s efforts to protect even more people from the effects of COVID-19. Getting adolescents vaccinated means their faster return to social activities and can provide parents and caregivers peace of mind knowing their family is protected.”

Any parent or guardian seeking an appointment for their child at Monday’s clinic which will be held between the hours of 2 and 6 PM may register for an appointment with Olden Pharmacy directly via their website at

“We are excited to provide the COVID vaccine in one of our district schools to all of our students from the age of twelve years old and up,” stated HTSD Superintendent Dr. Scott Rocco. “This is the result of a tremendous amount of teamwork between the township, Olden Pharmacy, and our school district. In particular, I would like to thank Marta Audino, our Director of Student Services, who has spearheaded our COVID response this year, and Chris Hellwig of the Hamilton Township Health Department, who has worked closely with us throughout the pandemic. Providing vaccines to our students, now that the vast majority of our faculty and staff are vaccinated, provides another level of protection for our students, faculty, and staff.”

Hamilton Township Division of Health reminds residents that all three available COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective and continues to encourage all individuals age 12 and older to get vaccinated. Those seeking vaccination may contact the Division of Health by telephone at (609) 890-3884 or (609) 890-3647 or email

“I want to thank Olden Pharmacy and HTSD for their outstanding partnership in bringing vaccine to our area students”, said Mayor Martin. “The more people we can vaccinate, the safer it is for everyone. This is just one more step towards the normalcy we all crave.”

AG’s Office Releases Body-Worn Camera Footage Related to Death of Man Who Was Hospitalized After Police Encounter in Trenton Last Year

May 13, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

TRENTON (MERCER)– The Attorney General’s Office today released two 911 calls and video footage from nine police body-worn cameras related to the death of Joseph Ahr Sr., 64, of Trenton, N.J., who was hospitalized and later died after police used pepper spray during his arrest on July 6, 2020.

The fatal incident remains under investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA). The recordings are being released in response to a recent OPRA request and pursuant to policies established by the Attorney General in 2019 that are designed to promote the fair, impartial, and transparent investigation of fatal police encounters. Prior to today’s release, investigators discussed the matter with Mr. Ahr’s representative and relatives and provided copies of the recordings to them for their review.

Overview of Police Encounter Prior to Mr. Ahr’s Hospitalization and Death:

Officers of the Trenton Police Department responded to Mr. Ahr’s home in the 700 block of Monmouth Street at approximately 5:30 p.m. on July 6, 2020, after police received a phone call from Mr. Ahr’s son. Trenton officers arrived and initially spoke to the son, who answered the front door. Joseph Ahr Sr. then came to the door to speak to the officers. Both the son and Mr. Ahr got into verbal disputes with the officers. After the son went into the house, Mr. Ahr remained on the porch and continued to argue with the officers.

At a certain point, officers tried to detain Mr. Ahr and he pulled away from them. Officers then took Mr. Ahr to the ground, restrained him, and handcuffed him. During that encounter, one officer deployed pepper spray. While the officers were handcuffing Mr. Ahr, he stated several times that he could not breathe. After he was sitting up, Mr. Ahr complained about other medical issues, and officers summoned emergency medical personnel. Emergency medical personnel responded to the scene, examined Mr. Ahr, treated him with oxygen, and transported him to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton. Mr. Ahr was admitted to the hospital, where he died 18 days later on July 24, 2020.

The recordings are posted here.

The Attorney General’s Office today released the identities of the Trenton police officers involved in the incident. They are Jeffrey Donaire, Kozell Hodges, Cornell Huff, Bryan Kirk, Angel Pena, Nicholas Piotrowski, Glendy Quijada, Yajaira Torres, and Acting Sgt. Rosemarie Addar. Officer Piotrowski is the officer who deployed pepper spray.

This investigation is being conducted pursuant to a state law enacted in January 2019 (P.L. 2019, c.1), which requires that the Attorney General’s Office conduct all investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. Separately, the Independent Prosecutor Directive, which was issued by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal in December 2019, outlines a 10-step process for conducting these investigations. The Directive establishes clear procedures governing such investigations to ensure that they are conducted in a full, impartial and transparent manner. Under both state law and the Directive, when the entire investigation is complete, the case will be presented to a grand jury, typically consisting of 16 to 23 citizens, to make the ultimate decision regarding whether criminal charges will be filed. At present due to the COVID-19 pandemic, regular grand juries are not sitting and hearing cases.

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Implementing Second Phase of COVID-19 Restriction Easing

May 13, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy last night signed Executive Order No. 239, moving forward with the COVID-19 restriction easing announced last week. The easing includes the complete removal of the outdoor gathering limit; an increased indoor gathering limit; the complete removal of all percentage-based capacity limits for indoor businesses, outdoor businesses, and houses of worship,; and an increased indoor large venue capacity. Additionally, the prohibition on indoor interstate youth sports competitions is being lifted.

“Throughout the pandemic, data and public health needs have guided the hard decisions we’ve made on COVID-19 restrictions,” said Governor Murphy. “With COVID-19 metrics trending in the right direction amidst substantial progress on our COVID-19 vaccination program, we can move forward with these significant steps towards a return to normalcy.”

The following changes will take effect on Wednesday, May 19th:

  • Complete removal of outdoor gathering limit– Attendees at outdoor gatherings will still be required to remain six feet apart from other groups and existing requirements regarding mask wearing will remain in place. 
  • Indoor gathering limit– The limit for indoor gatherings in private residences will be raised to 50 persons, up from 25 persons. Commercial gatherings and gatherings organized and operated by an overseeing entity (e.g. conferences, expositions, meetings of fraternal organizations, job trainings, events hosted by senior centers) in public spaces will be subject to the 250-person indoor gathering limit that applies to indoor catered events, as long as all attendees can remain six feet apart.
  • Complete removal of all percentage capacity limits for indoor and outdoor businesses, and houses of worship – The following businesses will no longer be subject to any percentage-based capacity restriction, but will instead be guided by the rule regarding six feet of distance between persons or groups of persons.  This would include:
    • Indoor dining – Currently, indoor dining is limited to 50% capacity. This change will remove the 50% limitation but maintain the six feet of required distance between tables, except that tables will still be permitted to be closer than six feet where restaurants use partitions that comply with DOH requirements. Additionally, the prohibition on tables of more than 8 persons will be lifted. As a reminder, outdoor dining has never been bound to a capacity percentage. 
    • Houses of worship and religious services, which are currently at 50% capacity.
    • Retail businesses, which are currently at 50% indoor capacity.
    • Gyms, which are currently at 50% indoor capacity.
    • Personal care services, which are currently at 50% indoor capacity.
    • Indoor amusement and recreation businesses and outdoor amusement and water parks, which are currently limited to 50% capacity.
    • Indoor and outdoor pools, which are both currently limited to 50% capacity.
    • Indoor catered events, funerals, memorial services, performances, and political activities – These events are currently limited to 50% of a room’s capacity, up to 250 individuals.  Beginning on Wednesday, May 19, the 250-person limit will remain in place, but there will be no percentage-based capacity restrictions. Individuals and groups will need to remain six feet apart. 
  • Indoor large venue capacity – The capacity limit for indoor large venues will increase from 20% to 30% and the definition of a large venue would shift from those with 2,500 fixed seats to those with 1,000 fixed seats. The requirement that individuals or groups of individuals that purchase tickets together remain six feet apart will remain in place.
  • Removal of prohibition on indoor interstate youth sports competitions – Athletes, staff, and spectators will still need to abide by all existing health and safety requirements.

For the full text of Executive Order No. 239, click here.

UPDATE: Juvenile has been located–Bordentown Township Police seeking public’s assistance with locating missing 15-year-old

March 13, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

UPDATE: Juvenile has been located

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP (BURLINGTON)– The Bordentown Township Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance with locating Jason Fisher, age 15, of Bordentown Township, NJ.

Jason was last seen at 10:50 am on 5/12/21 at his residence in Bordentown Township. Jason is described as a white male, blue eyes, black and purple hair, 6’00, 180 lbs. He is also known to frequent Hamilton Township in Mercer County.

Anyone with information on Jason’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Bordentown Township Police Department at 609-298-4300.

Update: Colonial Pipeline Back Online

May 13, 2021 –Updated again at 4:40 p.m.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–As we reported Saturday on the Colonial Pipeline that runs though New Jersey and supplies gasoline, diesel fuel and aircraft fuel to the eastern part of the country has announced that the entire pipeline should be operational by noon today. There is no need to hoard gasoline or other fuel and disrupt the local supply chain as seen and reported in other parts of the country.

Locally the pipeline runs though Burlington, Mercer County, Middlesex County on its way to Linden, New Jersey and was shut down to a ransomware cyber attack.

System Restart and Operational Update #2
Update: Thursday, May 13, 4:40 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline has continued to make substantial progress in safely restarting our pipeline system. We can now report that we have restarted our entire pipeline system and that product delivery has commenced to all markets we serve.

Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during this start-up period. Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal.

This would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of the many Colonial team members across the pipeline who worked safely and tirelessly through the night to get our lines up and running. We are grateful for their dedicated service and professionalism during these extraordinary times.

See update below from the Colonial Pipeline:

Update: Thursday, May 13, 9 a.m.

Colonial Pipeline has made substantial progress in safely restarting our pipeline system and can report that product delivery has commenced in a majority of the markets we service. By mid-day today, we project that each market we service will be receiving product from our system. The green segments on this map are operational, meaning product delivery has commenced. Blue lines will be operational later today.

This would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of the many Colonial team members across the pipeline who worked safely and tirelessly safely through the night to get our lines up and running. We are grateful for their dedicated service and professionalism during these extraordinary times.

Colonial Pipeline Company, founded in 1962, connects refineries – primarily located in the Gulf Coast – with customers and markets throughout the Southern and Eastern United States through a pipeline system that spans more than 5,500 miles. The company delivers refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, home heating oil, and fuel for the U.S. Military. Colonial is committed to safety and environmental stewardship across its operations.

Colonial Pipeline is the largest refined products pipeline in the United States, transporting more than 100 million gallons or 2.5 million barrels per day. Colonial transports approximately 45 percent of all fuel consumed on the East Coast, providing refined products to more than 50 million Americans. 

Specifically, Colonial transports various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil, jet fuel, and fuels for the U.S. military through a pipeline system. The system is connected refineries in the Gulf Coast and in the Northeast. The majority of the system is underground, with tankage and other facilities at key receipt, storage and delivery points.

Related coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations today; Several days to return to normal

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages

Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline