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Category: Police & Fire News

Vehicular homicide charge in fatal crash

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A Union City truck driver has been charged with vehicular homicide in connection with a N.J. Turnpike crash that claimed the life of a Kearny man in June.

The N.J. State Police, working with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, arrested Henry Flores, 55, without incident at his home July 31.

Detectives reportedly have determined that Flores was using a cell phone when his tractor-trailer caused the chain-reaction accident on the Turnpike in Carlstadt. Several people were injured, and Jeffrey Humphrey, 43, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Humphrey, a lifelong Kearny resident, was a medical technology instructor at Montefiore Medical Center and was also the leader of a musical group, The Jeff Humphrey Trio. He was the brother of Kearny Public Library director Josh Humphrey.

The accident occurred at approximately 4:55 p.m., June 9, in the southbound lanes of the highway and resulted in its closure for about eight hours.

Police said Flores was traveling in the left lane when he smashed into the vehicle in front of him that was slowing with traffic. The initial impact caused a crash that involved multiple vehicles. Humphrey’s car was in the middle of the line of cars that were hit.

In addition to vehicular homicide, Flores has been charged with hindering apprehension, reckless driving and improper use of a cell phone.

He was remanded to the Bergen County Jail in lieu of $50,000 full cash bail.

 – Karen Zautyk  

Kearny ‘Night Out’

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Photos by Karen Zautyk

On Tuesday, Aug. 5, the Kearny Police Department sponsored its annual National Night Out Against Crime event on Belgrove Drive. The popular program drew scads of kids and adults and featured everything from a Jaws of Life demo to a classic car show to a visit from a State Police helicopter. And much more. All packed into two hours and one block!

Highlights from the Harrison police blotter

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July 29

At 1:08 p.m., police were dispatched to a residence on the 100 block of Grant Ave. on a report of a burglary.

The occupant told police she’d left home at about 9:15 a.m. and after returning in the afternoon, found the front door unlocked and the basement rear door broken, a window-sized exhaust fan in the door pushed in and a metal bar removed from the window.

She said the intruder ransacked a downstairs bedroom and removed five Fossil watches and a checkbook or debit card, ransacked a first-floor bedroom and took an 18-carat gold chain bracelet, an 18-carat gold plain finished ring with a small diamond set on it, an 18-carat gold wedding band with three diamonds inlaid, an 18-carat gold three chain bracelet, an 18-carat gold Omega watch and a 36-inch Sony flat panel TV.

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call the Detective Bureau at 973-483-4100. Read more »

NAPD seeks man who allegedly passed 4 fake $100s

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The North Arlington Police Department  is currently investigating an incident involving use of counterfeit $100 bills at a 7-Eleven on Ridge Rd.

A man, approximately 6′  in height, 150 lbs., wearing a baseball cap  with a Seattle Mariners logo, a white tank top, black/white basketball shorts, white socks, black sandals and black backpack entered the 7-Eleven July 20 at 6:37 p.m. The suspect purchased a Green Dot MoneyPak for $350, giving the counter person four, $100 bills that were counterfeit.

If you have seen or are able to identify the individual pictured in the photo, contact the North Arlington Police Department at  201-991-4400.

All calls will be kept confidential.

Farewell to a brother in blue

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On Friday afternoon, regular traffic came to a halt on the Belleville Pike and Ridge Road to open the route for the funeral procession of slain Jersey City Police Detective Melvin Santiago.

The 23-year-old rookie, promoted posthumously to detective, had been ambushed early Sunday, July 13, when he responded to a 911 call at a Jersey City Walgreens.

Thousands of police officers lined the streets around St. Aloysius Church in Jersey City during the Friday morning funeral Mass, after which the body of young hero was taken to Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington for interment. Escorting the cortege was an extraordinary honor guard of what appeared to be at least a thousand police motorcycles.

At the intersection of the Pike and Kearny Ave./Ridge Road, members of the Kearny Police Department, including its honor guard, stood in silent tribute, along with members of the public who bowed their heads or placed their hands over their hearts as the hearse passed by.

Rest in peace, Detective Santiago.

— Karen Zautyk

Wild pursuit ends with 3 arrests

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LYNDHURST –

It started as an alleged speeding incident and led to a frantic chase that ended in three arrests.

Here’s the account given by Lyndhurst Police:

Shortly after 2 p.m. on July 14, Patrol Officer James Goral pulled over a 2008 BMW traveling east on Page Ave. for exceeding the speed limit at the Schuyler Ave. intersection.

As Goral approached the vehicle, however, police said the driver suddenly pulled away, made a U-turn, and headed west on Page, turning on numerous side streets.

Police said the driver continued up to Ridge Road northbound, eventually turning west onto Valley Brook Ave. and then north onto Delafield Ave. where he encountered other patrol vehicles. Read more »

Learning to protect & serve

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By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

Last Friday, in a ceremony at Lincoln School, 36 youngsters graduated from the Kearny Police Department’s Junior Police Academy following two weeks of intensive, but fun, training.

This marks the academy’s sixth graduating class. We have been privileged to attend various sessions over the past few summers, and we never cease to be impressed by the range of programs offered and by the discipline of the kids, aged 11-13. (They even walk in step after they’ve been dismissed for the day!)

The academy is a combination of boot-camp exercises and education, covering all aspects of law enforcement. To graduate, the cadets must pass both a physical-training test and a written exam. This is not play time, it’s a learning experience. But as noted above, it is also fun. One of the outings this year included a cruise aboard a N.J. State Police boat, which took the youngsters down the Hudson and around the Statue of Liberty. Read more »

Highway homicide arrests

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Following a month-long investigation, authorities have arrested a Newark couple in the June 12 slaying of a Hackensack livery-cab driver who apparently had been targeted after an argument at a Belleville nightclub.

The victim, Jeff Mansilla, 39, was shot as he was driving on Interstate 80 in Saddle Brook. Authorities say he had been followed from the Belleville Ave. gentlemen’s club, called Wet, by suspects Mujahideen Abdullah and Jomaris Gonzalez.

Abdullah, 25, and Gonzalez, 28, were arrested Friday morning after detectives from the New Jersey State Police Major Crime Unit and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office executed a search warrant at their residence. Read more »

Borough fills its police roster

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Another one of East Newark’s own is poised to join the borough’s blue ranks.

Newly hired Police Officer Saul Gutierrez was placed on the borough payroll at a starting salary of $25,000, effective July 18, following his appointment by the local governing body on July 15.

He becomes the ninth member of the East Newark Police Department and he’ll be taking the slot being vacated by Officer Anthony Espaillat, who is leaving the borough after two years to become a detective with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, according to Police Chief Anthony Monteiro.

The 24-year-old East Newark native is slated to begin 21 weeks of training – with 64 other rookies from other police departments in his class – at the John H. Stamler Police Academy in Scotch Plains on July 28, Monteiro said. Read more »

Subwoofer stolen from Nutley resident’s home, police say

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July 5

Someone swiped a Kicker Subwoofer Speaker valued at $700 from a Passaic Ave. residence, the occupant told police. The theft was logged at 1:10 a.m.

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A William St. resident told police that after loaning their charge card to someone, they noticed that two transactions they didn’t authorize had been made on their card and that they’d been unable to reach the card’s borrower. Police said they couldn’t contact the borrower, either. The card has been canceled.

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At 7:49 p.m., a Parallel St. resident reported someone had stolen their engagement ring from their home. The ring was valued at $2,000. Police said they found no sign of forced entry to the residence. Read more »