MAHWAH, N.J. – A Mahwah police officer pushed a man out of the way of a speeding car driven by a drunk driver on the shoulder of Route 17 before it slammed into his patrol cruiser, pushing it into a vehicle that had a 3-year-old girl in the back seat, authorities said.
The girl “complained of pain and had a bump on her head” and was taken to The Valley Hospital by Mahwah Emergency Medical Services, Police Chief James N. Batelli said.
Her mother was contacted and responded to the hospital, he said.
It began Friday night when Officer Chris Fasulo stopped a northbound car near the West Ramapo Avenue overpass for a moving violation, Batelli said.
Fasulo smelled pot coming from the car and saw the 3-year-old sitting in back, he said.
A search turned up a 9mm Ruger pistol, along with marijuana and drug paraphernalia, the chief said.
Fasulo was standing on the shoulder with the driver, 22-year-old Shane Price Jr. of Goshen, N.Y., his patrol car lights activated, when he saw a four-door Porsche speeding toward them, Batelli said.
Fasulo pushed Price out of the way and the Porsche hit the police car, triggering its air bag and pushing it into Price’s car, he said. The cruiser was totaled, responders said.
The officer called for backups.
The Porsche driver, Stephen Dowicz, 59, of Ho-Ho-Kus, was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center in police custody, Batelli said. He was charged with assault by auto, DWI, reckless driving and failing to move over.
Price, meanwhile was charged with drug and weapons possession and ordered held in the Bergen County Jail.
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