Category: Monroe Twp

TRAFFIC ALERT: Serious Truck Crashes With Serious Injuries And Entrapment Prior To Exit 8A On NJ Turnpike

July 26, 2021

CRANBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Two separate serious crashes on the NJ Turnpike in the area of Exit 8A left the North Bound outer “truck” lanes of the NJ Turnpike closed and traffic backed almost 10 miles to Exit 7A in Robbinsville.

Monroe Township Fire Rescue 23, Ladder 23, Engine 23, Tanker 23, Chief 23, Squad 57 and Monroe Twp EMS responded to the the NJTP for 2 separate calls. 1st call was for an overturned Commercial Vehicle in the NB Car Lanes. While responding, a 2nd call for a 2nd Commercial MVC with heavy entrapment just south of the first call was received. Crews worked quickly to free the driver from the vehicle.

MidJersey.news has reached out to NJ State Police for official information and when that becomes available the story will be updated.





2nd Alarm In Monroe Township, One Victim Transported To Burn Center

July 19, 2021

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 2:00 a.m. Monroe Police, Fire Department and EMS were dispatched to Rutherford Hayes Drive for a well involved house fire. Upon arrival firefighters were met with a fully involved structure and a 2nd Alarm was struck sending mutual aid from Jamesburg, Millstone and Hightstown Fire Departments. Firefighters battled the flames for approximately an hour before bringing the fire fully under control.

Monroe Township EMS units provided medical support, rehabilitation services and transported one burn victim to the burn center at St. Barnabas Medical Center. 

Fire departments from all three Monroe Township fire districts responded, as well as companies from Middlesex, Mercer, and Monmouth Counties.

No further information available at this time.



Monroe Township Man Charged With Aggravated Manslaughter

July 19, 2021

OLD BRIDGE, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Acting Chief Peter LoPresti of the Old Bridge Police Department announce that a man has been charged for a fatal motor vehicle collision, which resulted in the death of a woman in another motor vehicle.

On July 18, 2021, authorities responded to Route 9 South near Texas Road following the report of a serious motor vehicle collision. Upon their arrival, officers located a Toyota Echo containing four occupants with varying injuries. One of the occupants, Ciara Gee, 20, of Raleigh, North Carolina was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers also located Sergio Seixeiro, 40, of Monroe in his damaged Ford Expedition.

An initial investigation by Officer Steve Connolly of the Old Bridge Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined Seixiero’s truck impacted the rear of the Toyota Echo. At this time, speed, reckless driving and intoxication are believed to be contributing factors.

Seixeiro has been charged with one count of Aggravated Manslaughter, one count of Vehicular Homicide, and three counts of Assault by Auto. Seixeiro was also issued a motor vehicle summons for Driving While Intoxicated.

Seixeiro is presently lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where he is being held pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Connolly at (732)721-5600 ext. 3821 or Detective Berman at (732) 745-4328.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Seixeiro are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Driver Extricated On NJ Turnpike In East Windsor

July 9, 2021

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 7:20 a.m. an accident was reported on the NJ Turnpike south bound inner roadway at mile post 70 with reported entrapment. The Hightstown Fire Company, Monroe Township Fire Department, Cranbury First Aid Squad, Hightstown First Aid Squad and Capital Paramedics were sent to the scene.

Monroe Township Fire reported “going in service with the tools” to cut the driver of one of the vehicles out of the car.

The injured were transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threating injuries.

NJ State Police is investigating the crash. No further information is available at this time.

Just south of this accident Robbinsville Township Fire Department and EMS and East Windsor Rescue Squad were sent to mile marker 67 north bound inner roadway for another crash. It was unclear if anyone in that accident was transported to the hospital.

Heavy rains were moving though the area at the time of the crashes from Tropical Storm Elsa.


Central and South Jersey Girl Scouts wrap up successful cookie season

Monroe Township, Middlesex County, NJ resident among the Council’s Top 10 Elite Cookie Entrepreneurs selling over 2,200 packages of cookies.

June 17, 2021

The Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey (GSCSNJ) knew it would be challenging in the midst of a global pandemic when the 2021 Girl Scout cookie season began in January. Due to social distancing restrictions, they were not able to knock on doors and use their traditional cookie selling methods. In true Girl Scout fashion, the resourceful girls were up for the challenge and put their innovation and leadership skills to the test by implementing creative ways to keep themselves and customers safe while striving to have a successful cookie season.

With the help of local businesses, the community, and innovative thinking of the girls, GSCSNJ succeeded in having a strong cookie season. One Girl Scout, Josephina Corona of Monroe Township, was among the Council’s top 10 elite cookie entrepreneurs this year. Corona sold over 2,200 packages of cookies.

This year, the Girl Scouts offered virtual, hybrid, and socially responsible in-person options to sell cookies including unique partnerships with Walmart and Grubhub. Walmart allowed local troops to set up cookie booths at stores and Grubhub offered contact-free cookie deliveries. The girls gained hands-on e-commerce experience as they fulfilled orders.

The Girl Scouts also started the Cookie Angel program this year, which provided an opportunity for businesses and donors to connect with local troops and support their cookie sales. Businesses purchased cookies virtually and gifted the cookies to their customers, employees, or local organizations. This year’s Cookie Angels included Advantage Outfitters, Bordentown Home for Funerals, Brown & Brown Insurance, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, and the Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company. Local organizations received the cookie donations from the program.

To recognize the top cookie sellers this year, the Juliette’s Pearls Club was created to honor Elite Entrepreneurs. The club is named after Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts who sold a beloved string of pearls to fund the operating expenses of the first Girl Scout Council. The top sellers received a necklace with a single pearl or their membership in the club. Each year they are among the Elite Entrepreneurs, they will receive an additional pearl to recognize their accomplishments. Corona received a necklace and her first pearl.

“We are so very proud of our Girl Scouts and all they accomplished for their cookie sales in spite of the pandemic,” said Ginny Hill, GSCSNJ CEO. “The girls used essential skills they learn in our program such as innovation, goal setting, and money management, and pivoted their approach to help them achieve their goals. Girl Scout cookies are known and loved by so many. We were glad to have provided something familiar during this time of uncertainty, while supporting programs to benefit girls for years to come.”

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest female-led entrepreneurship and financial literacy program in the country. Proceeds from sales are critical because they benefit local troops and GSCSNJ and assist in developing innovative programs that build girls of confidence, courage, and character who make a difference in their communities.

For more information about the Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ, visit gscsnj.org.

About Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ, Inc.

Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ (GSCSNJ) is the premier organization serving 12,000 girls ages K-12, and 9,000 adult members and volunteers in over nine counties. GSCSNJ shapes leaders for tomorrow by empowering girls to take on bold challenges, discover their own passions and strengths, act with character, and engage fully in fun, relevant experiences that encourage friendships and build life-long skills.


Monroe Township Man Charged with Murder

May 17, 2021

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Michael J. Biennas of the Monroe Township Police Department announced today that a Township man has been arrested and charged for the fatal assault of a female victim who was known to him.

Deymis Jimenez, 32, of Monroe has been charged with murder and unlawful possession of a weapon following an investigation by Detective Joseph Gentile of the Monroe Township Police Department and Detective Mark Morris of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

On May 17, 2021, at approximately 12:36 A.M., authorities responded to a residential building on Spotswood-Gravel Hill Road where they found the deceased adult female in a common area of the building. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation determined Jimenez had assaulted the victim in a common area in the building. The official cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy.

Jimenez is currently being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Gentile of the Monroe Township Police Department at (732) 521-0222 ext. 120 or Detective Morris of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3927.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Jimenez are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Eight arrests made by Internet Crimes Against Children Unit

May 14, 2021

Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced today that six County residents have been arrested for their possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of children.

          On May 13, 2021, officers of the East Brunswick, Edison, Highland Park, Monroe, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Perth Amboy, and Sayreville Police Departments along with detectives of the New Jersey State Police and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office executed search warrants at six residences across the County. 

          The investigation resulted in the following arrests:

  • Edison was arrested and charged for  second-degree Using a File-sharing Program to Store Items Depicting the Sexual Exploitation or Abuse of Children, second-degree Possession with the Intent to Distribute Child Pornography, and first-degree Possession of Child Pornography after having been found to be in possession of 100,000 items of material depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of children.
  • Hongpeng Zheng, 24, of New Brunswick was arrested and charged for  second-degree Distribution of Child Pornography, third-degree Possession of Child Pornography, and second-degree Using a File-sharing Program to Store Items Depicting the Sexual Exploitation or Abuse of Children. 
  • Ali Armas-Iriarte, 58, of Highland Park was arrested and charged for third-degree Possession of Child Pornography, second-degree Possession with the Intent to Distribute Child Pornography, and second-degree Using a File-sharing Program to Store Items Depicting the Sexual Exploitation or Abuse of Children. 
  • Jeff Caramella, 21, of the Parlin section of Sayreville was arrested and charged for third-degree Possession of Child Pornography.
  • James Walden, 50, of North Brunswick was arrested and charged for third-degree Possession of Child Pornography. 
  • A juvenile, 17, of Monroe was charged for third-degree Possession of Child Pornography. 

          Additionally, on May 6, 2021, Kenneth Godfrey, 41, of Woodbridge Township was also arrested and charged with third-degree Possession of Child Pornography. 

          On May 10, 2021, a juvenile, 14, of Edison was also charged for second-degree Possession of Child Pornography.     

          All of the aforementioned individuals were arrested and charged following separate investigations by Detective Daniel Lojek and Detective Stephanie Redline of the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which revealed the individuals possessed material depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of children.  Presently, the investigations appear to be unconnected and the individuals are unknown to one another.

          Nie is presently lodged at the Middlesex Adult Correction Center pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.  The remaining defendants individuals are likewise lodged at the Middlesex Adult Correction Center pending their initial appearances in Superior Court this afternoon. 

The investigations are active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Lojek at (732) 745-5924 or Detective Redline at (732) 867-1496 .

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Zheng, Nie, Armas-Iriarte, Caramella, Walden, Godfrey, and the juveniles are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty or, as in the case of the juveniles, adjudicated delinquent.

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

May 12, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MECER)–As reports were coming in of gas stations running out of gas in the south east United States from the hoarding of gasoline and other fuel products the Colonial Pipeline announced the restart of of the pipeline after a ransomware cyber attack. The company states that it may take several days for the delivery supply chain to return to normal. See press releases from Colonial Pipeline below for the latest updates.

Wednesday, May 12, 5:10 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations today at approximately 5 p.m. ET. 

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 the 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.

As we initiate our return to service, our primary focus remains safety. As part of this startup process, Colonial will conduct a comprehensive series of pipeline safety assessments in compliance with all Federal pipeline safety requirements. 

This is the first step in the restart process and would not have been possible without the around-the-clock support of Colonial Pipeline’s dedicated employees who have worked tirelessly to help us achieve this milestone. We would also like to thank the White House for their leadership and collaboration, as well as the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, FBI, PHMSA, FERC and other federal, state and local agencies for their ongoing support.

We will continue to provide updates as restart efforts progress.

###

Tuesday, May 11, 5:15 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline continues to make forward progress in our around-the-clock efforts to return our system to service, with additional laterals operating manually to deliver existing inventories to markets along the pipeline. Markets experiencing supply constraints and/​or not serviced by other fuel delivery systems are being prioritized. We are collaborating with the Department of Energy (DOE) to evaluate market conditions to support this prioritization. 

Since our pipeline system was taken offline, working with our shippers, Colonial has delivered approximately 967,000 barrels (~41 million gallons) to various delivery points along our system. This includes delivery into the following markets: Atlanta, Ga., Belton and Spartanburg, S.C., Charlotte and Greensboro, N.C., Baltimore, Md., and Woodbury and Linden N.J.

Additionally, in preparation for our system restart, we have taken delivery of an additional 2 million barrels (~84 million gallons) from refineries for deployment upon restart. 

Consistent with our safety policies and regulatory requirements, Colonial has increased aerial patrols of our pipeline right of way and deployed more than 50 personnel to walk and drive ~ 5,000 miles of pipeline each day. 

Actions taken by the Federal Government to issue a temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint and actions taken by several Governors to lift weight restrictions on tanker trucks should help alleviate local supply disruptions. This is in addition to the Reid Vapor Pressure wavier issued today by the U.S. EPA that will also help alleviate supply constraints in several states serviced by our system. We would like to thank the White House for their leadership and collaboration in resolving this matter as well as the DOE, PHMSA, FERC and other federal agencies for their ongoing support. 

Our primary focus remains the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We will continue to provide updates as restoration efforts progress.


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

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


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


Move slider to 3:41 for President Joe Biden’s remarks on the Colonial Pipeline.


May 10, 2021

Update — Monday, May 10, 12:25 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline continues to dedicate vast resources to restoring pipeline operations quickly and safely. Segments of our pipeline are being brought back online in a stepwise fashion, in compliance with relevant federal regulations and in close consultation with the Department of Energy, which is leading and coordinating the Federal Government’s response.

Restoring our network to normal operations is a process that requires the diligent remediation of our systems, and this takes time. In response to the cybersecurity attack on our system, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems. To restore service, we must work to ensure that each of these systems can be brought back online safely.

While this situation remains fluid and continues to evolve, the Colonial operations team is executing a plan that involves an incremental process that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach. This plan is based on a number of factors with safety and compliance driving our operational decisions, and the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week. The Company will provide updates as restoration efforts progress.

We continue to evaluate product inventory in storage tanks at our facilities and others along our system and are working with our shippers to move this product to terminals for local delivery. Actions taken by the Federal Government to issue a temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint should help alleviate local supply disruptions and we thank our government partners for their assistance in resolving this matter.

Our primary focus continues to be the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We appreciate the patience of the traveling public and the support we have received from the Federal Government and our peers throughout the industry.


The FBI confirms that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks. We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation. 



REGIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION
UNDER 49 CFR § 390.23 

No. 2021-002

ALABAMA, ARKANSAS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DELAWARE, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, KENTUCKY, LOUISIANA, MARYLAND, MISSISSIPPI, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, NORTH CAROLINA, PENNSYLVANIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, TENNESSEE, TEXAS, AND VIRGINIA

In accordance with the provisions of 49 CFR § 390.23, the Regional Field Administrators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Eastern, Southern, and Western Service Centers hereby declares that an emergency exists that warrants issuance of a Regional Emergency Declaration and an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCSRs), except as otherwise restricted in this Emergency Declaration.  Such emergency is in response to the unanticipated shutdown of the Colonial pipeline system due to network issues that affect the supply of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products throughout the Affected States.  This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products and provides necessary relief.  Affected States and jurisdictions included in this Emergency Declaration (“Affected States”) are:  Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency in the Affected States in direct support of relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system are granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations except as restricted herein.   

This Emergency Declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products into the Affected States during the emergency from shortages due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system.  Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not in support of emergency relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system in the Affected States, or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.  (49 CFR § 390.23(b)).  Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system in the Affected States, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399.  When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operation, equals 14 hours.  

All other applicable safety requirements remain in place and will be enforced by the FMCSA.  Specifically, nothing contained in this Emergency Declaration shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382), the commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CFR Part 383), the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements (49 CFR Part 387), the hazardous material regulations (49 CFR Parts 100-180), applicable size and weight requirements, or any other portion of the regulations not specifically authorized pursuant to 49 CFR § 390.23. 

Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this declaration until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA. 

In accordance with 49 CFR § 390.23, this declaration is effective immediately and shall remain in effect until the end of the emergency (as defined in 49 CFR § 390.5) or until 11:59 P.M. (ET), June 8, 2021, whichever is earlier.  FMCSA intends to continually review the status of this Emergency Declaration and may take action to modify or terminate the Emergency Declaration sooner if conditions warrant.


Taft Kelly, Regional Field Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Eastern Service Center


Darrell L. Ruban, Regional Field Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Southern Service Center


Scott G. Hernandez, Regional Field Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Western Service Center


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

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


Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Update — Sunday, May 9, 2021

On May 7, 2021 Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack and has since determined that the incident involved ransomware. Quickly after learning of the attack, Colonial proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat. These actions temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our IT systems, which we are actively in the process of restoring.

Leading, third-party cybersecurity experts were also immediately engaged after discovering the issue and launched an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident. We have remained in contact with law enforcement and other federal agencies, including the Department of Energy who is leading the Federal Government response. 

Maintaining the operational security of our pipeline, in addition to safely bringing our systems back online, remain our highest priorities. Over the past 48 hours, Colonial Pipeline personnel have taken additional precautionary measures to help further monitor and protect the safety and security of its pipeline.

The Colonial Pipeline operations team is developing a system restart plan. While our mainlines (Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4) remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations.

At this time, our primary focus continues to be the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We appreciate the patience and outpouring of support we have received from others throughout the industry. 


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

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


Woman Missing Since Saturday Found Deep In The Woods At Thompson Park

May 3, 2021

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–On May 3, 2021 at approximately 3:51 p.m., Monroe Township Police received a call from Emma Bodmer who was hiking the trails in Thompson Park. Ms. Bodmer advised that while hiking she came across a woman who appeared to be in distress deep into the woods. That is when Ms. Bodmer called the police and ran out of the woods to meet the responding police units. Once with the police Ms. Bodmer escorted the police units to the distressed female. Once at the area of the distressed female officers on scene were able to see that the female was Evelyn Zavala who was reported missing Saturday night after she was last seen in the area of the 7-11 in Jamesburg. Ms. Zavala was suffering injuries to her feet and was carried out of the woods by Monroe Police and Monroe Fire. The Monroe Police Department would like to thank Ms. Bodmer for her actions today and we would like to thank the Monroe Fire Department and the Monroe First Aid squad for their assistance.

North Jersey Crime Ring That Recached Into Monmouth And Middlesex Counties Busted

Local Police Departments Involved: Manalapan Police Department, Marlboro Police Department, Monroe Police Department, Holmdel Police Department

May 3, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced arrests of four individuals who have been charged in a multi-agency investigation for allegedly conspiring as members of a criminal ring responsible for numerous residential burglaries across much of New Jersey.

The participating law enforcement agencies have worked collaboratively to investigate 84 burglaries that were committed from October 2020 through March 2021 in eight counties in New Jersey—Morris, Bergen, Essex, Somerset, Passaic, Monmouth, Middlesex, and Union—as well as lower New York State. As detailed in the statement of probable cause in the criminal complaints filed against the defendants, the burglaries involved a similar modus operandi and it is suspected that the same burglary ring was involved in each of them. The perpetrators of the burglaries forced entry through a doorway, usually in the afternoon or early evening, and then stole cash, jewelry, and other valuables from the master bedroom and/or other areas of the residence. Well over half a million dollars in cash, jewelry, and other valuables were stolen in total in the 84 burglaries.

The four individuals who were arrested have been charged by the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau in connection with 16 of those burglaries that occurred in Morris, Bergen, Essex, Somerset, Passaic, and Union Counties. However, the investigation is ongoing and further charges may be filed in connection with the other burglaries. Investigators urge anyone who might have relevant information about the defendants or any of the burglaries to call the Division of Criminal Justice confidentially at 866-TIPS-4CJ.

The final defendant to be arrested, Keith Perry, was arrested on Friday, April 30, in North Carolina by the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force on a warrant obtained by the Division of Criminal Justice. He is being held in Union County (N.C.) Jail pending extradition. The other three defendants were arrested in early April in New Jersey and were ordered detained pending trial.

The following four defendants were charged by complaint-warrant with the offenses listed (one count of each offense unless otherwise indicated):

  • Keith Perry, 38, of Teaneck, N.J. 2nd Degree Conspiracy, 2nd Degree Burglary, 3rd Degree Burglary (15 Counts), 2nd Degree Theft, and 2nd Degree Receiving Stolen Property. Perry is charged with 2nd Degree Burglary in connection with a burglary on Dec. 23, 2020 in Englewood, N.J., during which he allegedly threatened a homeowner by making a motion with his hand inside his sweatshirt as though he had a gun and saying, “I’ll shoot you.” 
     
  • Porsche Brown, 29, of Lodi, N.J. 2nd Degree Conspiracy, 3rd Degree Burglary (6 Counts), 3rd Degree Theft, and 3rd Degree Receiving Stolen Property.
     
  • Kay Brown, 23, of Paterson, N.J. (no relation to Porsche Brown) 2nd Degree Conspiracy, 3rd Degree Burglary (3 Counts), and 3rd Degree Theft.
     
  • Gregory Lewis, 37, of Teaneck, N.J. 2nd Degree Conspiracy and 3rd Degree Burglary.

After Perry was involved in a car accident in Hackensack, N.J., on March 17, 2021, investigators obtained a search warrant for the Mercedes-Benz GL 450 he was driving and found proceeds from one of the burglaries in the car. On Feb. 12, 2021, Porsche Brown used a pawn shop in Vineland to pawn a significant amount of jewelry that is being investigated as suspected burglary proceeds.

The multi-agency investigation was led by the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, Verona Police Department, New Milford Police Department, and Teaneck Police Department, assisted by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, and the 40 additional municipal police departments listed below.

“This is an outstanding example of law enforcement collaboration,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We worked with law enforcement agencies across nearly half of New Jersey to identify and arrest the alleged members of this burglary ring, who sought cash, jewelry, and other valuables in the targeted residences, including homes that were occupied during the break-ins. With each burglary in a new town, law enforcement forged a new partnership to address this threat and shut down this major crime spree.”

“I commend all of the law enforcement agencies that partnered in this investigation, sharing evidence and working to stop this alleged prolific burglary ring,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The strength of law enforcement in New Jersey is enhanced by our strong collaborative relationships, which enabled us to identify and arrest these defendants.”

“Every agency involved with this investigation understood that it was paramount that we identify and apprehend the members of this ring, because their willingness to commit these crimes while homeowners were present demonstrated that they were prepared to engage in confrontation, which could easily have escalated into violence,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This investigation is an example of how the New Jersey law enforcement community can quickly band together and coordinate across multiple jurisdictions to dismantle a dangerous burglary ring.”

“As Attorney General Grewal said, this case highlighted the exceptional partnership shared among law enforcement agencies in New Jersey,” said Chief Christopher Kiernan of the Verona Police Department. “I must applaud Verona Detective TJ Conroy and Detective Lieutenant Timothy Banta who stayed with this case from the day of the Verona burglary in early December. They broke many leads that directly resulted in these arrests. Detective Conroy’s tenacious work was a shining example of Verona Police Department’s dedication to our community. He and Lieutenant Banta never let go and put in countless hours researching an enormous number of cases throughout the state, identifying similarities to Verona’s burglary. Much credit also should be given to Cedar Grove Police Officer Dominick Buscio. While on diligent patrol, Officer Buscio heard the transmission of our burglary in progress and located the suspect vehicle traveling through Cedar Grove, thereby securing a critical piece of evidence. These efforts and the teamwork of all of the participating agencies ultimately led to the successful arrests of those responsible for numerous burglaries throughout the state.”

Deputy Attorney General Attorney Matthew Lafargue, Detective Scott Caponi, and Detective Sang Han are assigned to the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Specialized Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Jacqueline Smith, Deputy Chief of Detectives Robert Stemmer, Bureau Chief Erik Daab, Chief of Detectives Weldon Powell, and DCJ Deputy Director Annmarie Taggart. DCJ Detective Shawn Gorlin, who is a member of the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, led the fugitive investigation. Attorney General Grewal thanked the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force for their invaluable assistance.

Detective Sgt. Brian Kearns, Investigator Erica Benedetti, and Investigator Jessica Butt participated in the investigation for the New Jersey State Police.

Detective Thomas J Conroy III is lead detective on the case for the Verona Police Department, under the supervision of Lt. Tim Banta.

The investigation by the New Milford Police Department Detective Bureau is being supervised and conducted by Lt. Kevin VanSanders, Detective Sgt. Nelson Perez, Detective Derek Mattessich, Detective Brian Carlino, and Officer Adam Conboy.

Detective Gabriel Santiago is the lead detective for the Teaneck Detective Bureau.

Attorney General Grewal thanked all of the participating law enforcement agencies for their work in the investigation.

In addition to the law enforcement agencies listed above, the following police departments participated in the collaborative investigation: Bedminster Police Department, Berkeley Heights Police Department, Bernardsville Police Department, Boonton Police Department, Bridgewater Police Department, Cedar Grove Police Department, Clarkstown (N.Y.) Police Department, Clinton Township Police Department, Englewood Police Department, Fairview Police Department, Glen Rock Police Department, Hackensack Police Department, Haledon Police Department, Harrington Park Police Department, Holmdel Police Department, Little Falls Police Department, Livingston Police Department, Madison Police Department, Manalapan Police Department, Marlboro Police Department, Milburn Police Department, Monroe Police Department, Montclair Police Department, Montville Police Department, North Caldwell Police Department, North Haledon Police Department, Northvale Police Department, Paramus Police Department, Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department, Pearl River (N.Y.) Police Department, Randolph Police Department, Tenafly Police Department, Totowa Police Department, Warren Township Police Department, Washington Township Police Department (Bergen County), Watchung Police Department, Wayne Police Department, West Orange Police Department, Woodcliff Lake Police Department, and Wyckoff Police Department.

Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Defense Attorneys

For Perry: Undetermined.

For Porsche Brown: Kevin G. Roe, Esq., Hackensack, N.J.

For Kay Brown: Richard J. Baldi, Esq., Baldi & Marotta, Paterson, N.J.

For Lewis: Adamo Ferreira, Esq., Hackensack, N.J.


UPDATE: Medical emergency results in four car crash in Hamilton Marketplace

February 13, 2021


See previous MidJersey.News article here: Serious accident in Hamilton Marketplace sends two to the hospital


By: Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– At about 2:59 pm, Hamilton police received a call for a motor vehicle crash with entrapment in front of the Party City in Hamilton Marketplace.

Hamilton Police say the driver of a 2005 Nissan Altima, Ernest Seubert, 91, of Monroe Township, suffered a serious medical episode, which resulted in a four car collision at the Hamilton Marketplace in front of the Party City store.

Seubert, along with his passenger, were transported by EMS to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital at Hamilton for their injuries. No other injuries were reported at the scene by the occupants of the other vehicles.

The crash investigation is ongoing and any witnesses are asked to contact Officer Christopher Clugsten of the Hamilton Police Traffic Unit at (609)581-4000 or the Hamilton Police Crime
Tip Hotline at (609)581-4008.



New Brunswick Man Charged With Vehicular Homicide In Monroe

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Michael J. Biennas of the Monroe Township Police Department announced that a New Brunswick man has been arrested and charged with the killing of another man who he fatally struck with a vehicle yesterday afternoon.

Leovigildo Comisario-Salazar, 32, of New Brunswick was arrested and charged with Vehicular Homicide and Driving While Intoxicated following an investigation by Officer Daniel Mosakowski of the Monroe Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.  The investigation determined that, at approximately 4:08 P.M., Comisario-Salazar was operating a commercial truck at 433 Schoolhouse Road when he struck and killed his coworker Pedro Lopez Lopez, 33, of New Brunswick.  Comisario-Salazar was charged with being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. 

The investigation is active and continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Mosakowski of the Monroe Police Department at (732) 521-0222 ext. 184 or Detective Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4328.

Monroe Township Mourns Passing Of Mayor Gerald W. Tamburro

December 31, 2020

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of the honorable Mayor, Gerald W. Tamburro.  Mayor Tamburro passed away surrounded by his family.    

Always service-oriented and loyal to his community, Tamburro was elected as second-ward councilman in November 2001. He went on to serve as Township Council President for eight years before being elected Mayor in 2015.  He was a tireless and passionate advocate for Monroe Township residents and served the township with love and pride.    

A National Guard veteran, Mayor Tamburro valued and honored all veterans and made it a point to personally meet each Monroe veteran when possible.     

In both his public and private life, he was an extraordinary family-man, mentor and leader. Monroe Township administration and all staff members express their deepest condolences to the Tamburro family.  

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Demarco Funeral Home please visit https://demarcofuneralhome.com/tribute/details/4490/Gerald-Tamburro/obituary.html#tribute-start for information on COVID-safe drive through visitation.  Township flags will be flown at half-staff for seven days to honor Mayor Tamburro and his decades of service. 

Rest in peace, Mayor.  You will be missed.

State Law provides that the current Council President, Miriam Cohen, assumes the role of Acting Mayor during the process of filling the vacancy in the office of the Mayor.  Over the course of the next 30 days the Township Council will complete the process of appointing an interim Mayor to serve until a special election to be held in November of 2021.


Statement by Governor Murphy on the Passing of Monroe Mayor Gerald Tamburro

“Mayor Gerald Tamburro was an example of the right person going into public service for the right reasons. Instead of spending his retirement from the private sector in quiet pursuits, Jerry dedicated his last two decades to the people of Monroe, his adopted hometown, which responded by electing him to township council and twice as their mayor.

Jerry’s legacy of service will be his tireless work to protect Monroe’s taxpayers and their quality of life, and the pride he took in never having let a developer pull a fast one against the township.

More than anything, however, Jerry was a friend to many and a loving family man. He lost his wife of 60 years, Carole, last year and I take some solace in knowing he and Carole are now reunited. He was a good and unwavering personal friend, even in those early days when he didn’t have to be, and his support was always truly meaningful. Tammy and I send our most heartfelt condolences to his and Carole’s six children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”


Mayor Gerald W. Tamburro

Mayor Gerald W. Tamburro was elected in November 2015 and sworn-in as the Township’s new Mayor on January 1, 2016 for a term of four years. Tamburro resides in Greenbriar at Whittingham with his wife Carole with whom he shares six children and nine grandchildren.

A retired banker, he served as vice president of commercial lending for the National State Bank of Elizabeth and as president of a community bank in New Jersey. Tamburro earned his bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University and is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University.

Prior to taking on the duties of Mayor, Tamburro had been elected in November 2001 as the second ward Council representative, serving as council president for eight years.  He is currently a member of the Monroe Township Planning Board and previously served as chairman of the Affordable Housing Board, chairman of the Master Plan Review Committee, Council representative to the Americans with Disabilities Act Committee, vice chairman of the Middlesex County Planning Board and a member New Jersey Training School Citizens Review Committee.

Christmas Parade, Hospital Appreciation At UPenn Princeton Medical Center

December 18, 2020

Team coverage by: Dennis Symons, Tyler Eckel, and Brian McCarthy

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Firefighters, EMS, and police with over 50 pieces of apparatus took part in a hospital worker appreciation event tonight at UPenn Princeton Medical Center. Hosted by Plainsboro Fire Department and Police, many agencies came through to show their support for hospital workers.

Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and even the Grinch showed up to show their support riding in the fire department’s ladder towers and were able to see hospital employees though the windows of the hospital.

This is a partial list of those participated:

Plainsboro Fire, Plainsboro EMS, Plainsboro Police Department, West Windsor Police Department, Princeton University Pubic Safety, Kingston Fire Company, Monmouth Junction Fire Comapny, Kendal Park Fire Comapny, Hightstown Fire Department, Little Rocky Hill Fire Company, Griggstown Fire Company, Middlesex County Hazmat, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab Fire Department, South River Fire Department, Monroe Fire Company – 51, Lawrenceville Fire Company -23, North Brunswick Fire Company #1, North Brunswick Fire Comnpany #2, North Brunswick Fire Company #3, New Jersey State Forest Fire Service, NJSP Aviation Unit, East Windsor Rescue Squad, Princeton Rescue Squad, Mercer County Fire Coordinator, Hopewell Fire Department – 52





Above photos by: Tyler Eckel




Murphy USA To Acquire QuickChek Corporation for $645 Million

December 14, 2020

EL DORADO, Ark. and WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Dec. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Murphy USA announced an agreement to acquire QuickChek Corporation (“QuickChek”) in an all-cash transaction for $645 million. The purchase price includes expected tax benefits valued at $20 million for a net after-tax purchase price of $625 million. The transaction will be financed with a combination of cash on hand, existing credit facilities and new debt, and Murphy USA has obtained committed financing from the Royal Bank of Canada.

QuickChek represents a truly distinctive business in a class shared by only a few comparable industry peers. Founded in 1967 as an extension of Durling Farms, a door-to-door milk and fresh dairy products delivery service that originally opened in 1888, it is a family-owned chain of 157 stores located in central and northern New Jersey and the New York metro area. It operates a best-in-class food and beverage (“F&B”) model with a strong regional brand and engaged customer following, offering quick-serve restaurant style food alongside convenience items; a high-volume fuel offer is included at 89 of its newest stores. Its industry leading economics are evidenced by robust per-store per-year merchandise sales of $3.5 million, combined merchandise margins of 38% with F&B representing over 50% of the mix, and per-store per-year fuel gallons of 3.8 million. Additionally, QuickChek has a proven history of same-store-sales growth and a rich real estate pipeline to sustain unit growth within its existing footprint.

The acquisition is consistent with Murphy USA’s updated capital allocation strategy as announced in October. It represents a continued commitment to deliver exceptional and sustained value to long-term shareholders and will complement other ongoing value creation mechanisms, including ongoing productivity improvement initiatives, organic growth, share repurchase and a dividend.

“In October we outlined an updated capital allocation strategy and committed to improving our food and beverage offer at existing and future sites,” said Murphy USA President and CEO Andrew Clyde. “This transaction greatly accelerates those efforts and benefits, and is expected to provide reverse synergies across our network, while enhancing future returns on new stores. The transaction is also expected to create direct synergies that leverage our enterprise scale and our distinctive capabilities in fuel, tobacco and loyalty. We are excited to join forces with an exceptional and highly engaged team at QuickChek who share Murphy USA’s passion for delivering excellence every day to all our stakeholders.”

“QuickChek and Murphy USA both reflect a family heritage and a strong people culture,” said QuickChek CEO and Chairman Dean Durling. “I am thrilled by Murphy USA’s commitment to honor our legacy and preserve our brand while learning from our business model. I am proud of what we have accomplished in making QuickChek what it is today and I am excited about the opportunities for continued growth and success in the next chapter in QuickChek’s journey. I know QuickChek’s dedicated employees and valued customers remain in good hands.”

The above considerations result in highly attractive deal economics. The net investment of $625 million represents a multiple of 13.2 times QuickChek’s estimated LTM October 2020 Adjusted EBITDA of $47 million. Annual run rate synergies of $28 million are expected to be achieved by the third year. When taking into account expected run-rate synergies and tax benefits, the acquisition reflects a multiple of 8.3 times estimated LTM Adjusted EBITDA. The acquisition is projected to be accretive to earnings in 2022, the first full year of combined operations.

The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval. RBC Capital Markets, LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal advisor to Murphy USA. BofA Securities, Inc. acted as exclusive financial advisor and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as legal advisor to QuickChek.

Webcast Information
Murphy USA will host a conference call to discuss the transaction at 8:00 a.m. CT on Monday, December 14, 2020. Interested parties may participate by dialing 1-833-968-2218 and referencing conference ID number 8192285. The call can also be accessed via webcast through the Investor Relations section of Murphy USA’s website at http://ir.corporate.murphyusa.com. The webcast will be available for replay one hour after the conference concludes and a transcript will be made available shortly thereafter.

About Murphy USA
Murphy USA (NYSE:MUSA) is a leading retailer of gasoline and convenience merchandise with nearly 1,500 sites located primarily in the Southwest, Southeast and Midwest United States. The company and its team of nearly 10,000 employees serve an estimated 1.7 million customers each day through its network of retail gasoline stations in 25 states. The majority of Murphy USA’s sites are located in close proximity to Walmart stores. The company also markets gasoline and other products at standalone stores under the Murphy Express brand. Murphy USA ranks 262 among Fortune 500 companies.

About QuickChek
Continuing to redefine “fresh convenience,” QuickChek is a market leader in food service providing local one-stop shopping where consumers can enjoy delicious made-to-order subs and sandwiches, guaranteed fresh brewed coffee, healthy snacks and salads, hot breakfast and more. Looking to make a difference in people’s everyday lives, QuickChek enables consumers to choose their convenience: you can place a mobile order through the QuickChek Rewards app where you’ll earn rewards for future savings; have your order ready through Curbside Pickup; utilize in-store self-checkout counters to get you on your way safe and fast; or have your order delivered through DoorDash and Grub Hub. Based in Whitehouse Station, NJ, the family-owned company operates 157 fresh convenience market stores including 89 locations with fuel throughout New Jersey, New York’s Hudson Valley and Long Island.

Certain statements in this news release contain or may suggest “forward-looking” information (as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) that involve risk and uncertainties, including, but not limited to anticipated store openings, fuel margins, merchandise margins, sales of RINs and trends in our operations. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual future results may differ materially from historical results or current expectations depending upon factors including, but not limited to: our ability to consummate our acquisition of QuickChek on the stated terms or at all; our ability to realize projected synergies from the acquisition of QuickChek and successfully expand our food and beverage offerings; our ability to finance the acquisition of QuickChek on acceptable terms; our ability to continue to maintain a good business relationship with Walmart; successful execution of our growth strategy, including our ability to realize the anticipated benefits from such growth initiatives, and the timely completion of construction associated with our newly planned stores which may be impacted by the financial health of third parties; our ability to effectively manage our inventory, disruptions in our supply chain and our ability to control costs; the impact of severe weather events, such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes; the impact of a global health pandemic, such as COVID-19 including the impact on our fuel volumes if the gradual recoveries experienced in Q2 2020 stall or reverse as a result of any resurgence in COVID-19 infection rates and government reaction in response thereof; the impact of any systems failures, cybersecurity and/or security breaches, including any security breach that results in theft, transfer or unauthorized disclosure of customer, employee or company information or our compliance with information security and privacy laws and regulations in the event of such an incident; successful execution of our information technology strategy; future tobacco or e-cigarette legislation and any other efforts that make purchasing tobacco products more costly or difficult could hurt our revenues and impact gross margins; changes to the company’s capital allocation, including the timing, declaration, amount and payment of any future dividends or levels of the company’s share repurchases, or management of operating cash; the market price of the Company’s stock prevailing from time to time, the nature of other investment opportunities presented to the Company from time to time, the Company’s cash flows from operations, and general economic conditions; compliance with debt covenants; availability and cost of credit; and changes in interest rates. Our SEC reports, including our most recent annual Report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q, contain other information on these and other factors that could affect our financial results and cause actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking information we may provide. The company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events, new information or future circumstances.

Supplemental Disclosure Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Information

The reconciliation of estimated LTM October 2020 Adjusted EBITDA to estimated GAAP net income for QuickChek is as follows:

(Millions of dollars)LTM Oct 2020
Estimated net income$8
  
Income tax expense$3
Interest expense$5
Depreciation and amortization$29
Other$2
  
Estimated Adjusted EBITDA$47

Consistent with Murphy USA’s historical presentation of non-GAAP metrics, Adjusted EBITDA for QuickChek is provided as it is a key metric used in the Company’s operational and financial decision-making. The Company believes that some investors may find it a useful indicator of ongoing operating performance and ability to generate cash flows from operations. Non-GAAP measures are not a substitute for GAAP disclosures and Adjusted EBITDA may be prepared differently by us than by other companies using similarly titled non-GAAP metrics. The above amounts are estimated based on preliminary data for QuickChek’s fiscal year ended October 30, 2020 and are subject to change based on the finalization of the financial statements for such fiscal year.


Monroe Twp. Police Officer Rescues Driver Out Of An Overturned Burning Vehicle

November 28, 2020

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–On Thanksgiving night at approximately 8:38pm Monroe Twp. Police Officers, Monroe Twp. First Aid Squad, and Monroe Twp. Fire Department were dispatched to Pergola Ave. near the intersection with Namsan Dr. for a report of an overturned vehicle in the middle of the roadway, fully engulfed in flames, and the driver was trapped inside the vehicle.

Officer Douglas Perrone arrived on scene minutes later and attempted to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher. Officer Perrone then put his own life at risk and climbed inside of the burning vehicle and was able to pull the driver from the vehicle. At this time Monroe Twp. Volunteer Fire Company #1 Deputy Chief Lonnie Pipero arrived on scene and assisted Officer Perrone with the rescue. The 30-year-old male driver was then transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital by Monroe Twp. First Aid Squad in serious condition due to internal injuries. Officer Perrone was also taken to the hospital due to smoke inhalation. Officer Perrone was treated and released. Monroe Twp. Volunteer Fire Company #1 was able to quickly extinguish the fire.

Preliminary investigation revealed that Vehicle 1 (2013 Ford Fusion) operated by the 30-year-old male driver was traveling Eastbound on Pergola Ave. approaching the intersection with Namsan Dr. Vehicle 2 (2018 Kia Optima) operated by a 74-year-old male driver was traveling Westbound on Pergola Ave. just West of the intersection with Namsan Dr. For an unknown reason vehicle 1 crossed over the double yellow center line and left the roadway to the left. Vehicle 1 then struck a tree, overturned, and came to the position of final rest on its roof with the vehicle on fire in the center of Pergola Ave. Driver of vehicle 2 was unable to avoid vehicle 1 and struck it while it was on its roof in the middle of the roadway. Driver #2 was uninjured.

This accident is being investigated by Sergeant Anthony Trohalides and Officer Daniel Mosakowski of the Monroe Twp. Traffic Safety Division. Anyone who might have witnessed this crash is asked to contact the Monroe Township Police Traffic Safety Division at 732-521-0222 Ext. 126.

UPDATE: Stolen Vehicle Pursuit On NJ Turnpike Between Exits 10 and 8A, Leads Host Of Charges Including: DUI, Aggravated Assault, Marijuana, Drug Paraphernalia And More

November 25, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Sgt. Philip Curry of the New Jersey State Police Public Information Bureau told MidJersey.News that yesterday at approximately 9:51 p.m., NJ State Troopers attempted to stop a Chevrolet Tahoe, later discovered to be stolen from New York, for a traffic violation on the New Jersey Turnpike inside of Interchange 10, Edison Twp., Middlesex County. 

The driver refused to stop and fled onto the Turnpike southbound inner roadway at a high rate of speed.  The vehicle continued south before exiting the Turnpike at Interchange 8A and proceeded to intentionally strike a NJ State Police vehicle before becoming disabled on Cranbury South River Road in South Brunswick, N.J. 

Troopers removed the two occupants from the vehicle and placed them under arrest.  There were no serious injuries reported. 

The driver, Ryan Williams, 25, of Bronx, N.Y., was charged with receiving stolen property, eluding, possession of marijuana, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, possession of a distributable amount of drug paraphernalia, money laundering, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, aggravated assault, and driving under the influence.  The passenger, Twinkle Murray, 29, of Bronx, N.Y., was charged with receiving stolen property.  Williams was lodged in the Middlesex County Jail pending a detention hearing, and Murray was released pending a court appearance, according to NJ State Police.

Last night’s MidJersey.News story here: Developing: Pursuit Off NJ Turnpike Ends Off Exit 8A

Developing: Pursuit Off NJ Turnpike Ends Off Exit 8A

Updated MidJersey.News story here: UPDATE: Stolen Vehicle Pursuit On NJ Turnpike Between Exits 10 and 8A, Leads Host Of Charges Including: DUI, Aggravated Assault, Marijuana, Drug Paraphernalia And More

November 24, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–A pursuit for an unknown reason started on the New Jersey Turnpike south bound prior to the 80 mile marker. The vehicle being pursued exited Exit 8A in Monroe Township, the pursuit ended in the driveway of 1100 Cranbury-South River Road in South Brunswick Township about a 1/2 Mile from Exit 8A. Sources say that two suspects were in custody. No further information is available tonight, this is a developing story so check back for further information once it is released. (according to mapping software 1100 Cranbury-South River Road is South Brunswick Township 300 feet from the Monroe Twp. border but street address is listed as Monroe Twp.)


Salute To The Great Cities Of The American Revolution As Seen In Transit Though Mercer County

July 4, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, EAST WINDSOR, HAMILTON, NJ (MERCER)–If you were lucky enough to be outside this afternoon around 5:15 you would have seen a military fly over called “Salute To The Great Cities Of The American Revolution” en route from New York City to Philadelphia.

Trenton, NJ the home of the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area where just north of there General George Washington crossed the Delaware on December 25, 1776 was not on the official list of the “Great Cities”

Still the region from the Monmouth Battlefield, extending though Cranbury, Hightstown, Robbinsville, Hamilton and turning at Trenton towards Philadelphia was still able to see the fly over even though it was not officially on the program.

Spectators were able to see a variety of aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marine Corps including: U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, followed by B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers, F-15 and F-22 fighters and U.S. Marine Corps F-35 fighters in transit from New York City to Philadelphia.


Secretary Esper approved a Department of the Interior request for DOD support to the 2020 Salute to America. DOD will provide aerial, musical and ceremonial support to this year’s celebration in Washington, D.C. This year’s support will also include a flyover of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, as well an aerial salute to several cities that played roles in the American Revolution.
 
The highlight of this year’s celebration will be our salute to the Great Cities of the American Revolution. The flyovers will begin in Boston and proceed to New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore. From there they will join other Department of Defense and heritage aircraft in the Salute to America over our nation’s capital. In all, roughly 1,700 service members will support the celebrations.

The aircraft are scheduled to overfly each of the cities, beginning at approximately 4:00 pm, then fly on to the next city. U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps jets will fly over in five waves. The flyovers will be led by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, followed by B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers, F-15 and F-22 fighters and U.S. Marine Corps F-35 fighters.  

BOSTON:  The aircraft are scheduled to overfly the center of the city at approximately 4:00 pm approaching from the northeast at 1,000 feet above the ground.  Multiple aircraft will overfly the U.S.S. Constitution and then proceed over Fenway Park before departing the city. 

NEW YORK:  The aircraft are scheduled to fly down the Hudson River at approximately 5:00 pm and pass just east of the Statue of Liberty.  

PHILADELPHIA:  The aircraft are scheduled to overfly the center of the city at approximately 5:15 pm approaching from the northeast at 1,000 feet above the ground.  Multiple aircraft will fly over Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell and then proceed southwest out of the city.

BALTIMORE: The aircraft are scheduled to overfly Fort McHenry at approximately 5:30 pm approaching from the northeast at 1,000 feet above the ground.  Multiple aircraft will overfly Fort McHenry before turning south out of the city.

The flyovers provide an opportunity for DOD to demonstrate the capabilities and professionalism of the United States Armed Forces. Flying hours are a sunk cost for the Department of Defense, and these aircraft and crews would be using these hours for proficiency and training at other locations if they were not conducting these flyovers.
 
DOD is proud to help celebrate the nation’s 244th birthday. We are grateful for our nation’s support as we defend our country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


Photos below by: Dennis Symons from East Windsor looking towards Hightstown and Robbinsville


Photos below by: Brian McCarthy OnScene News from the Scenic Overlook on I-295 in Hamilton Township

UPDATED: Fatal Accident Investigation In Monroe Township

July 1, 2020

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Monroe Township Police are investigating a fatal accident that occurred on Route 33 around 1:15 pm. The accident happened in the 900 Block of NJ Rt 33 which is east of Bently Road.

Police said, a 2019 Hyundai Tuscon driven by 72 year old, Marc A. Mandelkorn of Monroe Township was traveling West bound on Route 33 just East of the intersection of Bentley Road. The Hyundai Tuscon left the roadway for an unknown reason then struck a NJ State DOT tractor that was mowing the median. The vehicle then crossed over the Eastbound lane and came to rest in the shoulder of Route 33 East.

Upon arrival of first responders the driver was found unconscious and medical aid was rendered. The driver was transported to CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, NJ and was later pronounced deceased, police said.

The crash is being investigated by Sergeant Anthony Trohalides and Officer Daniel Mosakowski of the Monroe Township Police Traffic Safety Division. Anyone who might have witnessed this crash is asked to contact the Traffic Safety Division at 732-521-0222 Ext: 126


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Monroe Township Woman Killed In South Brunswick Crash

June 22, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–At 10:47am on Friday, June 19th, Theresa Dowling, 81 y.o. from Monroe Township, was driving a 2017 Lexus westbound on Henderson Road when she failed to stop for a red light at Route 1. The Lexus entered the intersection and was struck by a 2013 Hyundai, driven by Maria Melendez, 61 y.o. from Somerset, which had been traveling northbound in the left lane of Route 1. The Lexus then continued across Route 1, striking a 2016 Chevrolet, driven by Michael Mitchell, 56 y.o. from Ridgefield Park, which had been traveling southbound in the left lane, before coming to rest in the intersection.
 
Ms. Dowling was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries on June 21st. The two other drivers and two additional passengers suffered minor injuries.
 
Route 1 southbound was closed to traffic for approximately 4 hours while the investigation was conducted and debris removed. 
 
No criminal or motor vehicle charges are anticipated at this time, but the crash is still under investigation.
 
Anyone with information on this crash is asked to contact Ptl. Merkler at (732)329-4000 ext. 7412.

Howell Twp. Couple Charged With Animal Cruelty In Deaths Of 4 Stolen German Shepherd Puppies, Remains Found Burned and Buried

The investigation further revealed McDonald was in possession of a generator reported stolen out of South Brunswick, and a John Deere front end loader reported stolen out of Monroe.  

June 17, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A couple is facing charges of animal cruelty after four German Shepard puppies in their care died due to neglect, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Daniel McDonald, 25, and Tricia Jaccoma, 24, are charged with four counts of third degree animal cruelty with respect to the deaths of four German Shepherd puppies found deceased on a property in Howell where they were temporarily residing.

The remains of two deceased German Shepherd puppies were found in a fire pit on the property in Howell on Monday, May 18, 2020.  The Howell Township Police Department and Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Law Enforcement Division, conducted an investigation, which led to the discovery of the remains of two more deceased puppies which had been buried on the property. 

The joint investigation revealed the puppies were stolen from a farm in Somerset County on or about May 12, when the puppies were only approximately three weeks old.  Investigators learned McDonald and Jaccoma were staying at the Somerset County farm prior to the time the puppies went missing and were in possession of the puppies while residing in a camper on the property in Howell.  Investigators also learned the puppies were ill, in distress, and were struggling to breathe prior to their deaths, and that the pair did not get the puppies medical attention because of the costs associated with the care. The investigation further revealed McDonald disposed of the bodies of the deceased puppies by burying two of them and tossing the other two into the fire pit on or about May 16.  A necropsy performed on the two buried puppies revealed the puppies suffered from parasites and also were severely emaciated and malnourished with “no indications of recent nutritional ingestion.” 

In addition to the animal cruelty charges for failing to provide the puppies with the necessary care, both McDonald and Jaccoma were additionally charged with multiple counts of third degree Receiving Stolen Property, for being in possession of the stolen puppies in Monmouth County.  McDonald was further charged with four counts of Hindering Apprehension of oneself, disorderly persons offenses, for disposing of the deceased puppies bodies.

The investigation further revealed McDonald was in possession of a generator reported stolen out of South Brunswick, and a John Deere front end loader reported stolen out of Monroe.   McDonald was charged with additional counts of third degree and second degree Receiving Stolen Property, respectively, for being in possession of these stolen items.  

McDonald was ordered detained at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon on June 10, 2020. 

Jaccoma is currently a fugitive.  If you have any information about her whereabouts, please contact Humane Law Enforcement Officer Michael Magliozzo of the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at 732 995-0329, or Patrolwoman Heather Scherbinski of the Howell Township Police Department at 732-938-4111.

If convicted of the second-degree charge, McDonald faces a sentence of five to ten years in a New Jersey state prison.

If convicted of any of the third degree charges, they each face a sentence of three to five years in in a New Jersey state prison on each count. 

This case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crimes Unit, and liaison to the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Law Enforcement Division. 

McDonald is represented by Paul Zager, Esq. of Red Bank. McDonald is scheduled for a Pre-Indictment Conference on July 6, 2020.

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: Turnpike Horror, 10 Horses Died In Horse Trailer Fire, 1 Person Inhalation Burns, 1 Other Injured

Breaking News, some reports from official sources and some reports from on scene and radio traffic, reported as accurately as possible

Updated at 9:40 am. with what we know

Updated at 1:00 pm with some details from social media

June 7, 2020

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–New Jersey State Police confirmed that 10 horses died in a horse transport truck accident with fire early this morning on the New Jersey Turnpike. The truck was a very large tractor trailer style horse transport.

One Facebook witness said they were passing the area at the time and saw flames 20 feet in the air coming from the wreckage.

The transport vehicle traveling north lost control and struck a concrete divider in the area of the bridge support for an emergency U-Turn on the highway then caught fire.

NJSP did not confirm that two persons were injured including one with inhalation burns to the lungs. The injured people were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick trauma center.

The accident and fire occurred around 3:00 am this morning on the New Jersey Turnpike “truck lanes” outer roadway near mile marker 68.6 north bound which is between Wycoff Mills Road and Brick Yard Road, approximately 1 mile north of Exit 8 Hightstown

Multiple fire departments and ambulance crews responded to the scene including units from Hightstown, East Windsor 1 & 2, Cranbury, Plainsboro and Monroe. Hightstown First Aid Squad transported 2 to RWJ, New Brunswick.

It was reported the horse transport was coming from Florida.

No further information is available at this time. NJSP would not give name of carrier or farm that horses belonged to.

One unconfirmed source stated that the horse trailer may have been en route from Ocala, Florida to Sarasota, NY carrying race horses for a race today and training at Saratoga Springs.


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Bicyclist In Fatal Accident in Monroe Identified As Army Reservist

May 5, 2020

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Christopher L.C. Kuberiet and Chief Michael J. Biennas of the Monroe Police Department announced today that a 19-year-old bicyclist died in a fatal accident on May 2, 2020.

 The deceased bicyclist was identified as Christopher Pina, 19, of Spotswood. He was pronounced at the scene due to the injuries he sustained in the accident.

During the investigation it was determined that on May 2, 2020,  the victim left a residence at Avenue J in Monroe and proceeded to the Avenue K Park in Monroe.  Pina, who was on his bicycle latched onto the open passenger window of an acquaintance’s car. The victim lost control of his bicycle, fell to the ground, and hit the concrete which caused his fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 11:23 pm.

Anyone with information is asked to call Traffic Officer Daniel Mosakowski of the Monroe Police Department at (732) 521-0222 , or Detective Mark Morris of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3927.

No charges have been filed, but the investigation is active and is continuing.


Obituary

Christopher John Alexander Pina was a 20 year old man who tried every moment to live his life to the fullest. When he wasn’t competing in basketball or video games there was nothing that he enjoyed more than making his friends and family laugh. He would do anything for the people that he loved, and with his enormous heart he had the capacity to love a great many people. Last June he finished his basic training and joined the Army Reserves, so that he could love and protect his country the same way he did his friends and family.

Christopher will be kept alive by all the many people whose lives he was able to touch, even in so short a time. He is survived by a loving mother and father, Debbie and Fidel, and two sisters, Amanda and Ashley, who adored him. His memory will also live on with his grandmother, Christine Lavell, and aunt and uncle, Linda and Tim Hagerty, and their four sons, David, Daniel, Dylan, and Douglas on his mom’s side. On his father’s side he will be remembered lovingly by his aunts Yolanda and Fior, his uncles, Chelo, Bienvenido, and Manuel, his cousins, Stephanie, Kevin, and Kelsey.

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, funeral services were private under the direction of Spotswood Funeral Home.

To send the family a message of condolence, please visit http://www.spotswoodfh.com.

Police Seek Help Locating Missing Monroe Township Man

May 2, 2020 at 10:28 am. UPDATE: Relative reports that “Herb” has been found. Waiting on official information from NJSP or Monroe to confirm.

May 1, 2020

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–State Police and Monroe Township Police Seek Public’s Assistance with Locating Missing Man

The New Jersey State Police and Monroe Township Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance with locating Herbert Warner, Jr., 80, of Monroe Township, N.J.

Mr. Warner left his Tumberry Drive residence at approximately 3:30 p.m. this afternoon riding a silver 12-speed bicycle.

He is described as a white male, 5’06”, 140 pounds, with green eyes, grey hair, and an olive complexion. He was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt, which read “Wags and Tails,” blue jeans, and possibly wearing glasses. He also suffers from dementia.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit at 609-882-2000 ext. 2554 or the Monroe Township Police Department at 732-521-0222. Anonymous tips are welcome.

NJ’s COVID-19 Violations Update For April 17, 2020

April 17, 2020

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced the following recent enforcement actions related to COVID-19, including those involving individuals in violation of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107: Cases Involving Additional Offenses

  • Megan Murray, 28, of Monroe Township, was charged on Tuesday, April 14, by the South Brunswick Police Department with two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, DWI, numerous motor vehicle violations, and violating the emergency orders.  Shortly after midnight, a vehicle operated by Murray was found stopped in a lane of travel on Georges Road.  Murray was found intoxicated and sleeping in the vehicle with two young children inside.
  • Alexander C. Bross, 30, of Ocean View, was charged early this morning by the Upper Township Police Department with DWI and violating the emergency orders.

Other Violations of Executive Orders, Including “Stay at Home” Order

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 90 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered seven non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions yesterday, April 16
  • Kim Pagan of Toms River was charged by the New Jersey State Police with violating the emergency orders by organizing a prohibited event today in Trenton in which protesters gathered outside the State House and at other locations in Trenton to demonstrate against the Governor’s Executive Orders.
  • Jeffrey Hernandez, 32, of Paterson, was charged on Wednesday, April 15, by the Paterson Police Department with violating the emergency orders at the carwash he owns on East 27th Street, BWT Shine 4 Less, where officers found employees washing cars by hand.
  • Antoni Moore, 31, Gary Smith, 19, and Onir Ritzie, 26, all of Morristown, were charged last night, April 16, by the Morristown Police with violating the emergency orders. Officers responded at 10 p.m. to a report of a fight outside an apartment on Clyde Potts Drive.  About 12 people were gathered outside, but most of them dispersed when police arrived.  The apartment door was open and the three defendants, who do not reside in the apartment, were inside.
  • Paterson Police charged seven individuals at various times yesterday with violating the emergency orders for continuing to loiter at the corner of Jackson Avenue and Bond Street after police warned each of them about violating the Executive Order.  Police charged Larhonda Burgess, 57, Kevin Lewis, 65,  Pearl Moore, 54, James Williams, 55, Syrenner Frazier, 51, Carolyn Dixon, 58,  and Herman Kuc, 53.  Burgess received three summonses, and Moore received two summonses.  The other individuals each received one summons.

 The defendants who were charged strictly with violating the emergency orders and who do not face more serious charges were charged by summons— they were not arrested.  Those cases will be adjudicated in municipal court.  “Our police officers are working bravely and tirelessly every day to protect us during this health crisis.  Regrettably, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the emergency orders— or what is more egregious, people using the virus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “Staying home and maintaining social distance isn’t just the best advice to stay healthy, it’s the law.  Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to keep our residents and officers safe, and that means we won’t hesitate to file charges against violators.”    “Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.” Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses. Police have charged a number of persons with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency for claiming to have COVID-19 and threatening to infect law enforcement officers or others by coughing, spitting, or otherwise exposing them.  Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.

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Congressman Smith Working to Bring Home Americans Trapped in Peru

March 24, 2020

In an urgent phone conversation Saturday, March 21st with U.S. Ambassador to Peru, Krishna Urs, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urged the Ambassador to reach out to U.S. citizens and reassure those spread-out across Peru that they have not been forgotten nor abandoned.

There are reportedly 5,000 Americans trapped in Peru needing the immediate assistance of the U.S. government in order to get home,” said Smith, who has been contacted by more than a dozen travelers with New Jersey roots.

The Administration has been working on some limited options, but we are asking the State Department to raise the bar and expand their efforts to include chartering planes or using military aircraft.”

Seven hundred Americans, including some from my district, are stuck in parts of Peru, such as Cusco, which is 11,000 feet above sea level where air quality is thin and a strict curfew is enforced.  It’s time to let these Americans and their worried families in the U.S. know that their country will employ more resources to bring them home safely,” Smith said.

In addition to speaking with the Ambassador, Smith has been working with State Department officials for several days. A human rights leader in the Congress, Smith has written three letters to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlining the location and needs of the New Jersey residents and others desperate for assistance to come home.

 “I ask your assistance in prioritizing the evacuation from Peru of these and other Americans by any appropriate, practicable and timely manner, including the chartering of private or commercial aircraft or the utilization of military planes,” Smith said in his March 20th letter in which he named specific Americans needing assistance.

Smith also led a letter cosigned by two additional members of the Foreign Affairs Committee which said in part “Amid the press of so many concerns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, we appreciate the efforts undertaken thus far on behalf of our citizens abroad, but nonetheless ask that you reassure trapped Americans and their families that their needs are being prioritized.”

Americans in Peru and elsewhere around the globe should know that we are doing everything we can to reunite them with their loved ones,” he said.

According to news reports, on March 15 the Peruvian government abruptly announced it would close

all borders, effective March 16, subsequently issuing a 15-day quarantine. It later announced that March 22 would be the final day the country would allow official flights to repatriate foreign visitors before the country closed all borders, effectively trapping many Americans and other international visitors in the South American nation. Further repatriation efforts require diplomatic intervention, something Rep. Smith is urging our Ambassador and State Department to prioritize.