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Sound asleep driver holds up rush-hour traffic at bridge

Not even the blaring horns of angry motorists stuck behind him in rush-hour traffic at the U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca Bridge managed to awaken a driver asleep at the wheel, according to Kearny P.D.

Police said Officer Jose Resua was dispatched to Passaic Ave. and Belleville Turnpike at 6:15 p.m. last Wednesday, Oct. 10, to investigate what was snarling traffic at the approach to the bridge linking North Arlington and Belleville.

When he got there, police said Resua discovered Joseph Armeli, 36, of Rutherford, sound asleep in the driver’s seat of his 2010 Ford in the left northbound lane of Passaic Ave., apparently intending to travel west across the bridge.

Police said Resua had to shake Armeli several times to get him out of his stupor. Police said Armeli, who was bleeding from his nose, had no clue where he was and declined medical attention.

As Armeli began to stir, police said Resua noticed a red straw with a white powdery residue fall from the driver’s lap and, after questioning by the officer, police said Armeli admitted to having used the straw to ingest heroin, which, police suspect, induced sleepiness in the driver.

Police then placed Armeli under arrest on charges of DWI and possession of drug paraphernalia and impounded his vehicle.

Here are highlights of other activities logged by Kearny P.D. during the past week:

Oct. 11

• At 9:20 p.m. vice detectives observed three occupants in a Honda parked at Quincy Ave. and Elm St. and a computer check disclosed that the vehicle was registered to a Howell resident.

After approaching the car and shining flashlights to illuminate the car’s interior, police said the detectives spotted bags of a white powdery substance believed to be heroin and recovered seven glassine folds stamped “Good & Plenty” from the driver, Daniel Rakoski, 25, of Howell. Rakoski was charged with possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia. The other two individuals were sent on their way, police said.

• Two brothers, William McCurley, 24, and Scott Mc- Curley, 31, both of Kearny, were arrested at 4:10 p.m. in the 600 block of Belgrove Drive on warrants charging them with robbery of a 28-year-old man outside a Davis Ave. deli at 4:40 p.m. on Oct. 5. Police said that the brothers allegedly argued with the victim in the deli, then followed him outside, beat him and stole a silver chain from him. The suspects were held in Hudson County Jail, Kearny, each on $100,000 bail with no 10% cash option.

• After tracking two Kearny residents in a suspected drug transaction in Newark, vice detectives trailed them back into Kearny and stopped them at Bergen and Davis aves. at 3:53 p.m. As detectives approached, police said they observed the passenger, John Enright, 39, emptying the contents of a pill bottle into some paper. Police said they found 133 pills later identified as oxycodone, an opiate analgesic, on him, along with 10 glassine folds stamped “730 Virus” containing suspected heroin. Enright was also wanted on a warrant from Sayreville, police said. Enright was charged with possession of heroin and oxycodone with intent to manufacture and/or distribute drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. The driver, Andres Santiago, 43, was charged with possession of drugs and paraphernalia after police said they found 30 oxycodone pills on him.

Oct. 10

• Alerted to a report of a theft in progress in south Kearny, Officers Pat Becker and Frank West drove to a S. Hackensack Ave. business at 7:15 p.m. where police said they found two men attempting to load an empty 300-liquid gallon tote into a parked GMC truck. Police arrested Wilfredo Marcano, 51, and his brother Benjamin Marcano, 50, both of Jersey City, on theft charges. Police said Benjamin was wanted on warrants from Jersey City and Philadelphia, Pa.

Oct. 9

• The woman accused of having run a house of prostitution in the 700 block of Elm St. that police shut down last month was arrested in Jersey City. Carolina Gutierrez- Flores, 29, of Jersey City, was picked up on Ravine Avenue at 7 p.m. and charged with promoting prostitution. Police said her car was spotted parked near the Elm St. location several times when plainclothes cops had the premises under surveillance. On Sept. 26 police went undercover to visit the place and arrested two employees on prostitution charges.

• Police stopped a car traveling on W. Bennett Ave. at 4:20 p.m. after noticing that its taillight reportedly wasn’t operating. After learning that the owner had an expired and suspended New Jersey license, police confronted the driver, who produced a New York license but agreed that his Jersey license had expired. Felippe De-Amorim, 27, who told police he has lived in Kearny the last several months, was ticketed for failure to maintain lamps and driving while suspended and was held on three outstanding warrants from East Newark.

Oct. 7

• After spotting a 1999 Mazda with a shredded front passenger side tire roll through a stop sign at Bergen Ave. and Forest St. at 5:20 a.m. and turn west on Bergen, police pulled the driver over at the Elm St. intersection. Police said the driver, Oscar Lucero, 24, of Kearny, smelled of alcohol, fumbled for his paperwork and dropped his wallet. Outside the car, police said Lucero grasped the side of the car for support. Police said Lucero couldn’t explain why his car was damaged. He was charged with DWI in a school zone, careless driving and operating an unsafe vehicle.

Oct. 6

• While on patrol, at 1:15 a.m., Officer Tom Sumowski saw a man shouting outside a tavern at Bergen and Kearny aves. and then punch and shatter the tavern’s plate-glass window before fleeing south on Kearny Ave. Police said Sumowski, after calling for help, chased him to Kearny and Boyd aves. where he confronted the man who griped that, “The (expletive deleted) wouldn’t let me back inside and wouldn’t serve me.” Police said Sumowski, joined by Officer Derek Hemphill, placed the man, Wayne Curtis, 21, of Newark, under arrest, only to have Curtis kick and spit at the officers. Police said he was pacified with O-spray to get him in the patrol car, then, at headquarters, police said he was forcibly placed in a cell. Curtis was charged with criminal mischief, resisting arrest with force and disorderly conduct. He was also held on an outstanding warrant from Newark.

Oct. 5

• At 11:15 p.m. police arrested a 17-year-old boy after officers said he was intoxicated and was kicking trash cans and bags, spilling the contents onto the sidewalk, at Kearny Ave. and Afton St. The teen was charged with under-age consumption of alcohol, disorderly conduct and violation of juvenile curfew. He was released to his father pending a court hearing.

— Ron Leir

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