KPD: All she had to do was move her double-parked Tesla; instead, she gets arrested, her car sent to the pound

It always makes good common sense to pay careful attention to the orders of police officers. But for one Manhattan woman, her decision to ignore simple police requests from a Kearny superior officer led to her getting arrested and her car being impounded, the Kearny PD said this week.

On March 3, at noon, Sgt. Jason Ward observed a red Tesla, double parked on a busy stretch of Kearny Avenue, impeding the flow of traffic. Recently, this ongoing problem has driven frustrated citizens to lodge repeated complaints.

Sgt. Ward used the police car’s loud speaker to ask the woman to move the vehicle into a parking space so that other drivers could use the lane of travel; however, she argued and blatantly refused, forcing other motorists to alternate traffic around her majesty.

After patiently waiting 30 seconds for the woman to perhaps change her mind and move, Sgt. Ward began using his overhead lights and sounding his sirens. In response, the woman stuck her head out of the window and reaffirmed — she wasn’t moving.

A heretofore extremely patient Sgt. Ward then initiated a motor-vehicle stop. He approached her vehicle and requested her license, registration and insurance. Shocking in no one’s mind, the woman called him a “jerk” and refused to provide the required documents.

As Sgt. Ward explained her compliance is legally required, she finally decided to get the car out of the way by putting it into “drive” as she took off from the stop. (Thing is, one can’t do that.) She didn’t get far though, as she was found parking in yet another prohibited parking zone, some two blocks down the road.

Sgt. Ward then advised her she would now be arrested. The woman was combative, argumentative and resisted arrest by pulling her hands and arms away so as to avoid being handcuffed. Sgt. Ward was able to overcome her resistance, however, but then she then refused to sit into the back of the police car and had to be forced.

Oh, and since the Tesla was not parked legally, it was impounded.

Heather Rodriguez, 34, of Manhattan, was charged criminally with eluding, obstructing administration of law and resisting arrest. She was also issued traffic summonses for failure to display a license when required, failure to display registration when required, failure to display insurance when required and (obviously) double-parking.

Ultimately, after all of this, she was released on her own recognizance with a future court date.

And to think, all she had to do was move her damn car — and all of this would have otherwise been moot.

Oh, and if there were an award for the Most Patient Police Officer of all time, Sgt. Ward would be given it, hands down.


Before midnight on March 4, Officer Damian Kolodziej fielded a call involving two males breaking into vehicles near Kearny Avenue. While police were not able to locate the burglars, a detailed description was obtained from witnesses.

Two hours later or so, Sgt. Ben Wuelfing and Officer Soto were dispatched to QuickChek, where a man was reportedly stealing merchandise. As it turns out, the description provided by QuickChek staff exactly matched the one of the two burglars from earlier.

The man had fled southbound, but this time, police found him. A foot pursuit ensued; however, the sprinter was no match for Officer Soto, who also serves in the US Army and is trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. While the suspect threw a white bag on top of a parked car, Officer Soto ran ahead of him so that the officers could surround him.

The suspect was promptly arrested and identified as Gabriel Melo-Jimenez, 29, of Kearny. A search of the discarded white bag and the arrestee’s person yielded various drug paraphernalia.

At headquarters, officers learned a Newark warrant had been active for Melo-Jimenez since 2020; however, as is usually the case, Newark declined to take custody of the arrestee and instead accepted a promise to consider appearing at court.

Melo-Jimenez was charged with shoplifting, obstruction, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia and was released with a summons.

Unfortunately, one officer was injured during the foot pursuit, though the injuries were not serious in nature. The initial vehicle burglary incidents remain under investigation.


On March 4 at 3:40 a.m., Officer Brad Salinas was in the area of the Belleville Turnpike and Madison Avenue, when he observed a Nissan SUV driving at a high rate of speed, swerving all over the roadway and crossing the double-yellow painted median. As Salinas positioned himself behind the speeder, the vehicle continued to drive erratically. A motor-vehicle stop was initiated and contact was made with the driver, Jason Hurtado Guzman, 29, of Newark, who displayed signs of impairment, including bloodshot, watery eyes, drooping eyelids and slurred speech. He had also reportedly had trouble finding the vehicle’s registration, which Officer Salinas could plainly see lying in the glove box. His hand movements were fumbling and he reeked of alcohol.

Officer Salinas learned the vehicle’s registration and insurance were both expired (it’s fortunate he didn’t injure someone or damage property).

Hurtado Guzman refused to take a shot at passing sobriety tests and at this point — and officers say they had seen enough. He was arrested based on probable cause and his vehicle was impounded.

Once at headquarters, Hurtado Guzman refused to submit to a chemical breath test. He was charged with DWI, refusal to submit to chemical breath testing, failure to insure vehicle, driving an unregistered vehicle and careless driving.

And after all that, he was later released to a family member.

Editors note: There were 23 arrests in total in the last week.

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.