Rookie cop recuperating from smash-up


I borough police officer is recovering from injuries sustained after a single car crash on Schuyler Ave. on the evening of Nov. 26, officials said.

According to several sources, the incident involved Officer Dave Balanta, who was a campus police officer at Kean University, Union, before being appointed to the North Arlington P.D. less than a year ago.

Police Chief Louis Ghione said that the officer is currently in a rehabilitation center in Teaneck for treatment of his injuries. “He’s expected to be out [of work] for an extended period of time,” the chief said. Ghione said the cause of the accident is being investigated by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office’s Accident Investigation Unit.

Preliminary investigation has found “no mechanical flaws” in the patrol car driven by the officer, he said.“The car [a Ford Crown Victoria] was totaled,” the chief said.

A press release issued by the North Arlington P.D. said the 32-year-old officer was responding to an emergency medical call at 9:40 p.m. when he “lost control of his vehicle after hitting either a puddle or an oil patch in the roadway while heading southbound on Schuyler Ave.”At that point, the release said, “the officer’s vehicle slide side ways, striking a utility police by the driver’s side door. t”Subsequently, the release said, “the officer had to be extricated from the vehicle by the North Arlington [Volunteer] Fire Dept. and was stabilized at the scene by the North Arlington Volunteer Emergency Squad.”The officer was transported to University Hospital in Newark “with multiple serious injuries,” the release said.

– Ron Leir

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