Two Bloomfield men were arrested after struggling for
control of a car that nearly ran over a bystander on Monday night, police said.
Bloomfield resident Joseph Lopez, a Bloomfield Township Council Candidate, called police regarding a disturbance on the corner of Montgomery St. and Rowe St.
Lopez said he heard a woman screaming outside his front yard at approximately 11:20 p.m. When he got outside, the woman said there was a carjacking.
Lopez said he saw two men fighting inside of an older, dark color, Nissan Maxima and ran to the vehicle to try to stop what he thought was a carjacking.
Lopez said when he tried to pull the passenger out of the car to break up the fight, the driver put the car in reverse and accelerated, causing the open passenger door to knock him to the ground.
“It went into reverse and dragged me and rolled me over,” Lopez said. “I rolled over toward the sidewalk because I thought the guy was going to try to run me over.”
Instead, the driver put the car into drive and sped off on Montgomery St. toward Willet St. with the passenger still inside. The impact caused injuries to Mr. Lopez’s head, elbow and hip that were later treated at Clara Maass Medical Center.
While Officer Navarro was speaking with Lopez, a radio broadcast went out saying Belleville Police had found a car and passengers on Smallwood Ave. fitting the description of the two men.
Bloomfield Officers responded to the stop in Belleville and met with Sgt. Curran who had found the suspect car stopped in the middle of the street, with the occupants still fighting inside.
The Sergeant ordered the occupants out of the vehicle and detained them until Bloomfield Sgt. Nicholas Polidoro, Officer Teo Osis and Officer Navarro arrived.
Police said the occupants/combatants were identified as Luis Crespo, 33, and Jay Morrone, 26.
Police separated the men and asked whether the incident was a carjacking. Police said both answered no and gave conflicting stories accusing each other of trying to rob the other.
While waiting for the results of a record check, Sgt. Polidoro reportedly noticed an open medicine bottle on the front passenger floor and scattered pills that he reportedly identified as Hydrocodone. He also reportedly saw a large quantity of money on the driver’s seat. Having found the CDS inside of the vehicle and also finding out that Crespo had outstanding warrants, the men were placed into custody and taken to Police headquarters.
Police say their investigation determined the incident was a drug deal gone bad.
Crespo was charged with possession of controlled danger substances prescription medication, possession of controlled danger substances with the intent to distribute, possession of controlled danger substance within 1000 feet of a school, possession of controlled danger substances within 500 feet of a park, conspiracy, operating a motor vehicle in possession of controlled danger substances, careless driving, driving with a suspended driver’s license, failure to exhibit valid registration/insurance and leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury.
Judge John Paparazzo set Crespo’s bail at $100,000.00 with a court date of Oct. 16.
Jay Morrone was charged with loitering with the intent to obtain controlled danger substances and was issued a summons, processed and released on his own recognizance also with a court date of Oct. 16 pending.
Lt. Charles Rocco of the Bloomfield Police Department Traffic Division has also determined that the vehicle the men used of was involved in multiple reports of leaving the scene of accidents and property damage reported earlier in the day in the area of East Passiac Ave., Byrd Ave., and Renner Ave. Multiple summonses were issued by the Lieutenant.
Ed. note: The story originally erroneously stated the events occurred on Tuesday. We have corrected the text and regret the error.