KPD: Speedster blew past officers on Kearny Avenue into oncoming traffic, then crawled into back seat upon being pulled over

Move over, Bubba Wallace — y’all got some company in Kearny.

On Dec. 31 at 3:44 a.m., Officers Kevin Matos and Ryan Carlos were patrolling, traveling north on Kearny Avenue, when a Hyundai improperly passed their police vehicle at a high rate of speed (going around them on the left and into oncoming traffic.)

Then the driver continued to pass other vehicles in this dangerous manner and allegedly blew through a red light.

The officers caught up to the NASCAR-wannabe — Julio C. Chacho Rodriguez, 33, of Harrison — and conducted an MV stop.

As they lit up the vehicle, police said they observed the operator climbing from the driver’s seat into the rear of the vehicle. As soon as the officers approached, the man, from the back seat, began to lament he hadn’t been driving the vehicle (which now had no one in the driver seat).

Officers detected the scent of alcohol and arrested Rodriguez. Police said a Hennessy bottle was recovered from the vehicle — which was impounded — as well.

At Kearny police headquarters, Chacho Rodriguez refused to take an Alcotest and was charged with creating false reports, hindering, driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit breathe samples, reckless driving, possession of an open container of alcohol inside a vehicle, improper passing of vehicle 1, improper passing of vehicle 2 and failure to observe a traffic control device.

And, you guessed it, he was ultimately released to responsible party.


On Christmas morning — at half 5, Officer Anthony Oliveira was flagged down by a passing motorist, who indicated a nearby vehicle had just been involved in an accident. Police then found a white Lexus with heavy damage and airbag deployment that had reportedly crashed into the J. Supor facility on Bergen Avenue.

Jansel J. Zamroasoto, 19, of Harrison, reportedly performed a field-sobriety test poorly.

His vehicle was impounded and he arrested and charged with DWI, underage drunken driving and  reckless and careless driving.

Zamroasoto was taken to hospital, a warrant for blood was obtained and he was left in custody of  a responsible person.


On Boxing Day, at 9:18 p.m., Officers Kevin Matos and Ryan Carlos responded to the 300 block of Schuyler Avenue for a vehicle crash. One of the operators — Steven M. Gonzalez, 49, of Newark, allegedly showed signs of impairment by alcohol.

When asked for his documents, Gonzalez provided officers with a Wells Fargo ATM card. Police said they found a bottle of Fireball whiskey on the floorboard of the vehicle.

Officers noticed the individual’s driver’s license included an ignition-interlock requirement (which was not installed on the vehicle.) Gonzalez declined to perform SFST. Based on the intel developed thus far, he was arrested and charged with DWI, possession of an open container of alcohol or an unsealed cannabis container, reckless driving, failure to present insurance documents and failure to install the interlock device —and his vehicle was impounded.

Then, at KPD HQ, he reportedly blew 0.15%, nearly double the legal limit.

And, after all of this, he was released to responsible person.


At 7:30 a.m., New Year’s Day, Officers Montero and John Fearon responded Bergen and Passaic avenues on an MVA. Upon arrival, officers said they found a grey Honda smashed into a gas exhaust pole on the corner.

The driver, meanwhile, told police he was coming from Hook and Reel.

Eliezer Diaz Baez, 36, of Kearny, could not find his documents and then changed his story and told police he was instead coming from a friend’s home where he’d consumed four beers.

Baez allegedly showed signs of impairment, and performed poorly on his SFST.

Police also said they found a bottle of Bacardi rum in the vehicle.

Baez was arrested and charged with DWI and his vehicle was impounded. He was also cited for driving while suspended, failure to possess a registration or insurance and reckless driving.

The car had to be winched to uncouple it from the gas exhaust pole.

PSEG was contacted as a heavy odor of natural gas was now emanating, after which an emergency crew repaired the damages.

At KPD HQ, Baez reportedly blew a .15% BAC, nearly twice the legal limit.

He was later released to a responsible person.


On Jan. 2, at quarter past 1 a.m., Officer Anthony Oliveira was patrolling near Johnston and Grant avenues when he observed Vincent A. Murray, 23, of Kearny, operating a Mercedes. Officer Oliveira is familiar with Murray, who has been the subject of extensive police interactions, including a firearms arrest in the past and he also knew Murray did not have a valid driver’s license.

As the officer conducted a U-turn, Murray quickly parked the vehicle, albeit blocking someone’s driveway.

Sgt. Mike Andrews arrived on scene as Officer Oliveira conducted the MV stop. After confirmation Murray’s license was suspended, he was arrested. A search incident to the arrest yielded Suboxone without a prescription.

At KPD HQ, police found a $500 Newark warrant for Murray. However, Newark released him on his own recognizance and provided a new court date (Newark rarely takes custody of people arrested on warrants).


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Det. Sgt. Michal Gontarczuk | Kearny Police Department

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.