KPD: Oh, brother (and sister)


The call came in as a man randomly picking fights with people in the area of Kearny and Johnston Aves. Police said it ended with that man, and his sister, both in handcuffs – although getting them there took some doing.

At 10:45 p.m., Oct. 1, Officers Michael Gontarczuk, Chris Manolis and Sean Podolski responded to the aforementioned report. Police said the would-be pugilist had left the scene but they obtained his description from a man who said he himself had been punched in the face.

The officers fanned out for a search and, near the bridge to East Newark, spotted the suspect, Jovan Echevarria, 21, of Kearny – reportedly stumbling along with his fists clenched.

As Gontarczuk and Manolis approached, Jovan’s sister, Natasha Echevarria, 25, also of Kearny, allegedly jumped between him and the cops and shoved Gontarczuk.  Jovan then grabbed her around the waist to keep her from being taken into custody on an assault charge, and a tug-of-war ensued, police said.

Police said Jovan was warned that if he did not release his grip, OC spray would be deployed, he refused to comply and was thus sprayed. Gontarczuk took Natasha into custody, but Jovan, despite the OC, reportedly continued to struggle with Manolis and Podolski as they tried to restrain him.

By this time, a crowd had gathered, shouting at the officers and attempting to interfere with the arrests. The cops called for assistance and PD units from both East Newark and Harrison responded. The rowdies were dispersed and the Echevarrias were at last both in cuffs and en route to KPD headquarters.

Jovan was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstructing the administration of law; Natasha, with aggravated assault on a police officer.

Police said she also had a $250 warrant (municipal ordinance) from Kearny.

  • ••

Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:

Oct. 1

At 1 a.m., Sgt. Michael O’Neill and Officers Manolis, David Bush, Jonathan Dowie and Derek Hemphill, responding to a report of a large fight on the 100 block of Johnston Ave., arrived to find no disturbance – except for some deafeningly loud music blasting from a party in an apartment. Entering the building, they encountered an allegedly “extremely intoxicated” Jordan Thomas, 26, of Kearny, in a third-floor hallway. Thomas reportedly refused medical treatment and began screaming and otherwise acting out. He was arrested for disorderly conduct, transported to HQ and later turned over to family members.

  • ••

Officer Bush, at Davis and Bergen Aves. at 3:40 a.m., pulled over a southbound 1999 Toyota that reportedly had been drifting into the opposite lane. Driver Roberto Gonzalez, 29, of Newark, was arrested after “multiple” burnt marijuana cigars were seen in the ashtray and pot was found in a lunch box on the back seat, police said. He was charged with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia, possession of a CDS in a MV, and careless driving.

  • ••

At 5 p.m., Officer Jordenson Jean responded to a reported road rage incident at Chestnut and Duke Sts., where he found a couple who said they had been involved in a minor accident with a 2005 Chrysler that had fled the scene. Jean located the car and its driver – Fatima Pereira, 57, of West Palm Coast, Fla. – on the 100 block  of Kearny Ave., who police said was wanted by five jurisdictions: Newark, Union and Hillside, MV warrants; Union City, contempt of court; and Flagler County, Fla., larceny. She was arrested on same and also received summonses for driving while suspended, leaving the scene of an accident, operating an unregistered and uninsured car, and careless driving.

Oct. 2

Officer Manolis responded to a 1:30 a.m. criminal-mischief report at Elm St. and Columbia Ave., where he was met by a 33-year-old Belleville man who pointed out damage to his 2001 Chevy: shattered driver’s-side window, broken side mirror and dented passenger-side window frame. After interviews with the victim and witnesses, a criminal-mischief complaint was drawn against suspect Jessica Hodle, 28, of Harrison. She was contacted by the KPD and turned herself in at HQ at 9 that night.

  • ••

Another criminal-mischief call came in at 8:30 a.m. from the 300 block of Devon St., where Officer Jason Ward was met by a 56-year-old Kearny man who pointed out structural damage to a gate on his property and a broken window on a 2002 Chrysler belonging to one of his tenants. Ward developed as a suspect Jason Leon, 24, of Kearny, who was interviewed, reportedly admitted responsibility and was arrested.

Oct. 4

Officer Michael Alvarez, on patrol at Kearny and Laurel Aves. at 2:10 a.m., observed a southbound 2000 Lexis with one headlight out and travelling in an erratic manner. Following the car and stopping it on South Midland Ave., he conducted a warrant check and, police said, found that driver Almalik Barnes, 37, of Kearny, had two: MV, $228, out of Ledgewood, and a no-bail criminal warrant from the Union County Sheriff’s Office. In a search incident to arrest, Barnes was found to have a bag of suspected cocaine in his pocket, police said.

He was charged on the warrants and with possession of coke and paraphernalia, driving while suspended, careless driving and the headlight violation, and was turned over to the Union County authorities.

  • ••

Vice officers, having been alerted that a Kearny man in probable possession of narcotics would be arriving at Belgrove Drive and Woodland Ave., were there at noon to greet him. As suspect Rafael Quesada, 47, exited the black Cadillac in which he was a passenger, the detectives advised him of their suspicions, reportedly confiscated three wax folds of “Call of Duty” heroin and two plastic bags of suspected crack cocaine, and arrested him for possession of the drugs and paraphernalia. Police said the Caddy driver had no involvement and was released.

  • ••

Yet more criminal mischief to vehicles, this involving a series of incidents in the area of Devon Terrace: vandalism to a 2009 Cadillac on Sept. 17, a 2009 Nissan on Sept. 29, and a Chrysler on Sept. 30.  Officer Thomas Floyd took the initial reports, and Det. John Fabula, assisted by Officer Daniel Esteves, conducted the investigation, which included viewing video surveillance from the neighborhood, and developed as a suspect  Romulo Araujo, 20, of Kearny.

Complaints was drawn for his arrest and, at 2 p.m., Oct. 4, Esteves took him into custody at a Wilson Ave. address on three counts of criminal mischief with bail of $2,500.  Police said Araujo also had a no-bail Hudson County Sheriff’s warrant on a charge of receiving stolen property, and a $600 Basking Ridge MV warrant.

For those of you patiently awaiting the weekly Walmart incident: At 1:30 p.m., Officer Jean was called to the store lot where a man was reportedly yelling and screaming and standing in various parking spaces, telling drivers they could not use them. One woman shopper said the man also tried to prevent her from putting packages into her car. Jean obtained a description, and with Officer Chris Levchak as backup, located 39-year-old Rocky Davida of Kearny still on the property.

Although he apparently had committed no crimes as the alleged self-appointed parking monitor, he was found to have warrants: $500, drug-related, Lodi; $1,500, MV, Paterson. He was arrested and brought to HQ and those jurisdictions were notified.

– Karen Zautyk

Learn more about the writer ...