Over the limit, under arrest

A rash of D.W.I.’s took place in Kearny this week as Kearny Police were left to clean up the mess.

On Saturday, Jan. 14, Sgt. John Becker was on patrol on Passaic Ave. near Riverview Court at about 1:15 a.m. when he observed a vehicle driving erratically, then pull into the town parking lot on Passaic Ave. Knowing that the location has featured prior illegal activity, Becker approached the vehicle from the passenger side where he smelt the odor of burnt marijuana emanating from the vehicle. With three individuals in the vehicle, Officers Ben Wuelfing and Derek Hemphill came as backup. Sgt. Becker observed the front seat passenger smoking a small “blunt”, which he tried to drop on the floor after Becker illuminated the object. Officer Wuelfing conducted a field sobriety test. The driver, 25-year-old Marlin Garcia of Kearny, was placed under arrest and charged with driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to an alcohol test, possession of a controlled substance within a motor vehicle, and failing to change the address on his driver’s license. The other two passengers, 23-year-old Kearny residents Brian Matos and Eugene Fernandez, were charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The DWI rash continued into the morning of the 15th when officers Chris Medina and Frank West were patrolling the area of Kearny and Bergan Aves. and observed a vehicle driving northbound on Kearny Ave. with a man driving hunched over at the steering wheel. After almost hitting several parked cars, the officers stopped him in the area of Garfield and Kearny Aves. The man seemed startled and didn’t stop for the lights, only pulling over after the officers put their sirens on. Officers approached the vehicle and noticed a strong smell of alcohol. When asked where he lived, the man said Virginia and that he was just on his way home. After performing field sobriety tests and an I.D. check, the man, 52-year-old Kearny resident Raul Sevillano was placed under arrest. He was charged with driving with an obstructed view, driving while intoxicated, careless driving, and driving with a suspended registration.

Just two hours later at about 4 a.m., Sgt. Becker was traveling on Davis Ave. and observed a silver vehicle traveling at a very high rate of speed westbound on Oakwood Ave. The vehicle traveled west on Oakwood Ave, then turned onto Belgrove Drive, hitting a sign in the process. The vehicle was pulled over at Belgrove Drive and Pedan Terrace. When he approached the vehicle, Becker could smell the odor of both alcohol and burnt marijuana. Immediately upon questioning the driver, the male admitted that he only had a couple of beers. The driver was put through field sobriety tests and could barely stand or complete the most routine questions. A search of the area found an uncovered Heineken bottle. The man, 21-year-old Newark resident Ruy Horta, was placed under arrest and charged with careless driving, operating a vehicle with an open container, driving while intoxicated, and not having documents in possession.

On the evening of the 16th around 7 p.m., Officer Mike Andrews observed a suspicious vehicle on Clinton Ave. Officer Frank West responded to the scene as backup. Andrews approached the driver’s side of the vehicle and question the occupants. After detecting the odor of burnt marijuana, the driver admitted that the hand-rolled marijuana cigar belonged to him and him only. The driver, 19-year-old Kearny resident Jorge Borreto was taken from the car and placed under arrest. He was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

Later that evening, around 11:30 p.m., patrol units were alerted that a hit and run occurred near Columbia Ave. and Devon St. A red vehicle was seen leaving the scene and turning onto Elm St. Officers Chris Medina and Ben Wuelfing responded to the scene to conduct an investigation while other units checked the surrounding area for the vehicle. Sgt. Mike O’Neill advised that he had the vehicle in sight, driving westbound on Midland Ave. and stopped the vehicle. The car appeared to be damaged and the driver appeared to be intoxicated. After a field sobriety test, the man was placed under arrest. Raymond Garbiras, a 59-year-old Kearny resident, was charged with driving while intoxicated, failing to exhibit registration, careless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, failing to report an accident, and refusal to submit to an alcohol test.

The next day, on the 17th, Officer Neil Nelson was on patrol about 4 p.m. behind a vehicle on Clark St. that was being operated very slowly and erratically. From what Nelson could see, the individuals in the vehicle were looking at parked cars. After attempting to initiate a vehicle stop, the driver ignored his attempts and continued down Clark St. to Marshall St., finally stopping in the Shop Rite parking lot. After approaching the vehicle on foot, the driver put the vehicle in reverse and backed into the patrol car. Not knowing if the individuals were going to flee, Nelson summoned backup. This brought Sgt. Charles Smith and Officers Mike Andrews, Pete Jahera, and Sean Kelly to his aid. The officers began to conduct a field inquiry, to which the driver identified himself as three different people with three different dates of birth. He was placed under arrest for hindering apprehension. Nelson conducted a search of the person and found a waxed drug fold in his pocket, generally used to hold drugs. A cursory search by Nelson revealed two open beer bottles on the front seat and that the registration to the vehicle had expired in March. The passenger was interviewed by Kelly and found to have a warrant by the Ocean County Sheriffs Office and placed under arrest. The driver was asked why he lied to Officer Nelson and replied that his name was hard to spell and he couldn’t give the correct spelling. The driver, 56-year-old East Newark resident Mieczyslaw Kurasz was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia for the wax fold, failing to produce documents, driving an unregistered vehicle, careless driving and operating a vehicle in possession of an open alcohol container. The passenger, 53-year-old Dennis Wetmore of Harrison, was handed over to the Ocean County Sheriffs Dept.

On Jan. 19th around 4:30 p.m., patrol units were called to the area of Belgrove Drive and Woodland Ave. On Woodland Ave, Officer Jose Resua found that a man had rammed his vehicle into a parked car and was attempting to push the other vehicle. After placing his patrol car behind the perpetrator’s vehicle, Resua approached the car and observed a male in the driver’s seat bleeding from the head and face. After climbing through the window of the car and shutting the car off, Resua attempted to take the driver from the seat, but he initially resisted. Officer Sean Kelly arrived as backup and the two officers were able to arrest the man. The driver appeared to be so intoxicated that he was unable to perform any of the field sobriety tests and was taken to headquarters for treatment. The man, 62-year-old Manuel Sarniento of Lyndhurst was charged with reckless driving and driving while intoxicated.

Finally, just before midnight on the 19th, Officers Ben Wuelfing and Joe Martin responded to the area of Devon Terrace just off Schuyler Ave. on a report of a motor vehicle accident. The officers arrived on scene to find a red Dodge that had apparently been struck by another vehicle. Bystanders pointed the officers in the direction of a Pontiac at the end of the road. They found that the airbag had been deployed and the car was wedged between two vehicles. While waiting for EMS, the driver told them that she did not want to climb out of the vehicle while it was in that position. During an interview, police observed an empty can between the driver’s door and the seat. Once free, the woman was taken to headquarters. Yandra Beato, a 35-year-old Kearny female, was charged with operating under the influence, careless driving, and possessing an open container of alcohol while operating a vehicle.

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