KPD: Another un-sober driver attempts to ‘hide’ in passenger seat

On Jan. 4 at around 3:30 p.m., Officer Sean Podolski responded to a hit and run accident on the Belleville Turnpike involving three vehicles. Witnesses reported a black Ford truck fleeing and provided its license place.

En route to the crash, Officer Podolski found the suspect vehicle stuck in heavy traffic and was able to stop it. He ordered the driver to park the vehicle and turn off the ignition; however, the driver was not cooperative and he refused to exit the vehicle. Podolski says the driver appeared to be impaired.

The driver then attempted to roll up the window so he could call his girlfriend and then, when Officer Podolski attempted to prevent the window from rolling up, the driver, Joel Alexander, 35, of Paterson, jumped from the driver’s seat into the passenger seat.

Alexander appeared to be disoriented, agitated and on edge. Backup officers arrived and Alexander was removed from the vehicle; however, officers noticed he was able to quickly toss a small white bag into the meadows and tall weeds. Unfortunately, officers were not able to locate this object.

Officer Podolski noted no signs of alcohol intoxication, but Alexander appeared to be impaired, likely on narcotics. Both Alexander and his vehicle reeked of marijuana and he performed poorly on field sobriety tests. Ultimately he was arrested for DWI and the vehicle was impounded.

At Kearny Police Department headquarters, drug-recognition expert conducted an evaluation to confirm Officer Podolski’s suspicions.

Other officers, on scene at the crash, learned one of the hit and run victims was hurt, suffering a back injury. Because of this, a charge of assault by auto was added.

Ultimately, Alexander received his court date and was released to a responsible party.

On Jan. 5 at 4 p.m., Officer Justin Salinas, Mat Lopez and Sgt. Jack Grimm responded to the Target store, where loss-prevention staff told them Jasmine R. Curry, 19, of Bloomfield, under-rang $872.76 worth of goods. Unlike in other states, this is a third-degree crime in Jersey. And so, the woman was arrested, processed and later released with a court summons to Hudson County Superior Court.

On Jan. 6 at 3 p.m., Officer Justin Salinas, Mat Lopez, Ellesse Ogando and Sgt. Jay Ward responded to a dispute on the 400 block of Kearny Avenue. An investigation revealed after a verbal dispute, Simon S. Madramootoo, 32, of Kearny allegedly broke a woman’s phone, the value of which was $1,100. He was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and — this is real — later remanded to Hudson County Jail.

On Jan. 7, shortly after 6 a.m., Officers Jason Rodrigues and Jonathan Dowie and Sgt. Jack Grimm responded to Johnston and Grant avenues where they found an unresponsive man behind the wheel of a Nissan.

Officers attempted to rouse the man and detected an odor of alcohol, leading police to call an ambulance.

Once they were able to wake the man, Ariel A. Verduga Mendoza, 26, of Newark and talk with him, they detected signs of impairment. Police said his SFST performance was poor also. As such, his vehicle was impounded and Mendoza was arrested and charged with DWI.

Despite being tested on the Alco machine over four hours after bars close, and after what seemed to be a lengthy sleep, the man blew 0.18%, more than double the legal limit.

Charged with DWI, released to responsible party.

On Jan. 9 at 2:27 a.m., Sgt. Tim Castle was patrolling Schuyler Avenue near Tappan Street when he observed a vehicle crossing over yellow lines multiple times. He followed the vehicle through West Hudson Park, where it continued to swerve left and and right.

As the vehicle approached the intersection of Woodland and Kearny avenues, it ran a red light.

Sgt. Castle initiated a stop. He said immediately detected an odor of alcohol and signs of impairment when speaking to the driver, Edward R. Matos, 53, of Kearny.

Matos fumbled with his wallet and his eyes were bloodshot and watery, police said. He could not find registration or insurance in the vehicle. Officer Jordan Anders, meanwhile, arrived as back up and FSTs were conducted. Based on what police said was a poor performance, Matos was arrested and his vehicle impounded. He was charge with DWI, failure to maintain a lane, disregarding red light, failure to produce registration and failure to produce insurance. His Alco test was more than double legal limit.

On Jan. 6, shortly after 8 a.m., Officer Andre Fernandes was on patrol near Harrison and Bergen avenues when he observed a silver KIA driving erratically. The vehicle passed several vehicles improperly and conducted a right turn from the left-turn lane at a high speed.

Officer Fernandes conducted an MV stop on the 280 West Ramp.

The driver, Christian Sabater, 32, of Jersey City, only had an state ID on him — no driver’s license. A computer check showed his driving privileges were suspended. He also could did not have a registration or proof of insurance.

He was arrested for driving while suspended. At KPD HQ, officers discovered Sabater was also a wanted person in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, with full extradition requested by the NCIC Want.

The registered owner of the vehicle, Jessica Johnson, was summonsed for allowing an unlicensed person to drive.

Sabater was taken to the Hudson County Jail, pending extradition by Northampton County Sheriff’s Office.

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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.