Schillari: Hudson sheriff’s officer breaks 2 knees chasing fleeing juvenile

A Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer was seriously injured following a Jan. 6, 2022, traffic stop in which one of the passengers, a juvenile, fled the scene and it all led to the officer having emergency surgery for two broken knees he sustained in the chase, Hudson County Sheriff Francis X. Schillari said.

According to the sheriff:

The traffic stop, at the intersection of Palisade Avenue and Fifth Street in Union City involved a burgundy Nissan Maxima that was pulled over after officers saw the vehicle had no front license plate and tinted front windows.

While speaking with the driver, D’Andre J. Velaquez, of North Bergen, the officer observed the driver’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot and his words were slurred. Field-sobriety tests at that time were performed and it was determined Velazquez was under the influence of narcotics.

At that time, the driver was taken into custody and the other three passengers were asked to step out of the vehicle. They were then informed the vehicle would be towed, at which time the juvenile took the keys and refused. When officers on scene attempted to arrest the juvenile for obstruction of the administrative law, the juvenile fled.

The two other passengers in the vehicle — Juan S. Lopez of Union City and Kenia L. Morales of North Bergen — also fled the scene.

Members of the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Bureau later discovered a black handgun in the back seat of the vehicle as well as a six-round magazine.

All four were charged with possession of weapons for unlawful use, unlawful possession of weapons and certain persons not to have weapons.

“Every day, our officers put their lives on the line to protect our community and it is always horrible when an officer is hurt in the line of duty,” Schillari said. “I wish this officer a speedy and full recovery and thank them for their dedicated service.”

The officer is expected to require 1-2 years to recover from their injuries.

The juvenile was apprehended and taken to the Morris County Juvenile Detention Center and was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, obstruction of the administration of the law and resisting arrest in addition to the other charges.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off 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 Facebook Live, 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 West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.