Speeder eludes cops after chase: NPD

Nutley police are looking for a man they say led them on a high-speed chase along Washington Ave. on Feb. 28.

That day, police attempted to pull over a car reportedly driven by 30-year-old Belleville resident Vincent Cotugno.

At one point, police said Cotugno was clocked driving at 76 mph.

The chase ended, police said, with Cotugno crashing the Honda Civic he was driving near Passaic Ave. and then taking off on foot.

Police were unable to find Cotugno, whom they identified by a driver’s license left in the car, they said.

In addition to an active Belleville warrant, Nutley police said they charged Cotugno, in absencia, with driving on a suspended license, eluding an officer, careless driving, unsafe lane changing, improper passing, reckless driving, making an improper turn at a traffic signal, failure to observe a traffic-control device, speeding, disregarding a stop sign and leaving the scene of an accident.

Nutley police said they attempted to arrest Cotugno at his Belleville residence after they secured a warrant for his arrest. However, he wasn’t at home when they served the warrant.

Both the Belleville and Nutley police departments continue to actively search for Cotugno.

His bail, police said, has been set at $50,000 cash only/no 10% option.

Meanwhile, the NPD released the following reports of incidents that took place between Feb. 28 and March 1:

Feb. 28

Paula Wood, 55, of Nutley, was arrested on Howe Ave. following a motor vehicle stop. Police said they pulled Wood over after they suspected she was driving drunk. At the scene, she refused to submit to a breath test and was charged as such. She was also charged with careless driving, improper passing, leaving the scene of an accident and drunken driving. Wood was released on her own recognizance, pending a mandatory court date.

March 1

Police are looking for a man they say is responsible for making a MoneyGram transaction using counterfeit cash. Officers responded to a Harrison Ave. business and were told the man sent $700 using seven counterfeit $100 bills. The bills were initially checked with a dri-mark pen — and appeared legitimate — but when they were checked a second time, the clerk realized the bills weren’t real. The suspect is described as a black man, with a medium build, who was wearing a black cap, dark pants, white sneakers and a grey and black Adidas sweatshirt. (See photo for a more accurate description). Anyone with information about the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to call the NPD at 973-284-4940 or to text 274637 (CRIMES) with the word NPDTIP in the body of the message along with the tip.

March 3

Susan Feniello, 28, of North Arlington, was arrested on River Road following a motor vehicle stop. Police said they learned Feniello was wanted by Hamilton Township during the stop. Feniello posted bail on the warrant, was advised to contact the Hamilton court for a new court date and was released.

March 4

Nutley High School was evacuated after school administrators say they received an automated phone call advising them there was a bomb inside the school. Police, fire and school officials worked together to safely evacuate all who were in the school at the time of the threat. The Essex County Bomb Squad responded, searched the school and ultimately deemed it safe. The incident lasted an hour and police said 12 other schools/jurisdictions had similar threats around the same time.

Editor’s note: Chief Thomas Strumolo continues to warn residents to secure vehicles. Unlocked vehicles have led to more than 20 thefts over the past few months, all of which could have been avoided if doors had been locked. Also, never leave valuables in a car where they can be observed.


— Kevin Canessa Jr.


Photo/Caption: 2016-03-09 Nutley Counterfeiting Suspect.jpg: NPD Photo. A look at the suspect police said used counterfeit money to send a $700 MoneyGram transaction at a local business March 1.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, an organization he has served since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and X, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.