KPD: 2 crashes, same street, minutes apart

On Nov. 5, at 2:36 a.m., Officer Lawrence Latka responded to a crash at Halstead Street and Belgrove Drive, where two Mercedes Benzes crashed into one another. The second Mercedes fled the scene, but  Christian Villegas Libreros, 23, of Kearny, remained there in his crashed vehicle.

Police say Villegas Libreros had bloodshot watery eyes and was belligerently yelling at everyone around him. His breath also allegedly reeked of alcohol and he fumbled his movements.

After field-sobriety testing, Villegas Libreros was arrested and his vehicle was impounded.

He was charged with careless and drunken driving and then later released to responsible party.

The same day, Officer Michael Ore was dispatched to another crash involving — surprise, surprise — a Mercedes Benz that crashed into a Belgrove Drive residence, taking a fence with it. Officers noted this was the vehicle that had just fled the crash at Belgrove and Halstead.

Police say they spoke to Bruce DyerCapunay, 31, of Newark, who may have set a record for time between accidents. He admitted to drinking 24 beers and he emanated a strong smell of alcohol. His movements were slow and he swayed and slurred his words.

Police conducted field-sobriety tests and he was thereafter arrested, his vehicle impounded and he was also found to be unlicensed. At KPD HQ, DyerCapunay was charged with drunken driving, driving without a license, failure to report an accident, careless driving, causing property damage and he was then released to responsible party.

The registered owner of the vehicle, Carmen Dortrait, 49, of Perth Amboy, was issued a summons for allowing an unlicensed person to drive.

On Nov. 5 at 4:26 a.m., Sgt. Tim Castle was on patrol on Stewart Avenue when he observed two vehicles, both bearing paper temporary registrations, that appeared to be following one another. The late hour, suspicious behavior, common for stolen vehicles to drive together to do crimes, and other driving behaviors, were strange, and at one point, the pair stopped in the middle of the street for a long period of time.

Sgt. Castle noticed the temporary paper registration was expired on one of the vehicles, a Nissan. The driver was identified as Desmar D. Rivers, 24, of Jersey City and he could not provide a valid registration, insurance or ID.

When Sgt. Castle ran a computer check, he found out not only was Rivers unlicensed, but a warrant was outstanding ($750 Millburn).

He was arrested, charged with driving an unregistered vehicle, driving unlicensed and failure to produce an insurance card. He was then picked up by Millburn PD on the warrant. The Nissan, meanwhile, was impounded.

On Nov. 6 at noon, Officer Esteban Gonzalez was on patrol on Fish House Road when he observed a Nissan crossing over the double yellow lines multiple times. The driving behaviors were indicative of an impaired driver.

He initiated an MV stop and spoke with the driver, Nunzio M. Stella, 48, of Lincoln Park, who police say had slurred speech and appeared to be in a strange physical and mental state. Field-sobriety tests were conducted, and Stella reportedly performed horribly. Telltale signs of narcotics impairment were present.

He was taken in for DWI based upon probable cause developed and his vehicle was impounded.

The individual did not smell of alcohol or show signs of alcohol impairment. The Alcotest resulted in a reading of 0%. Rather, it was evident Stella likely ingested some sort of drugs.

A drug-recognition expert was called in to conduct an evaluation.

However, in Jersey, while drivers must submit to alcohol testing, there is absolutely no obligation to submit to a drug recognition expert’s evaluation. Thus, Stella reportedly said “no” and could not be charged with refusal (such as when one refuses to submit to a breath test).

NB: NJ politicians do not seem keen on changing these laws, which protect drugged drivers.

Stella was charged with DWI, careless driving and failure to maintain lane and he was later released to a responsible party.

Learn more about the writer ...

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.

Det. Sgt. Michal Gontarczuk | Kearny Police Department