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Emerson police: DWI hit-and-run driver who dragged officer with car was 3x times over legal limit

Photo Credit: Stephen P. DiSalvo
Photo Credit: Stephen P. DiSalvo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A DWI driver involved in a series of hit-and-run crashes in Hillsdale and Paramus last night who dragged an Emerson police officer 20 feet with her car and caused an accident that sent another officer and a local man to the hospital had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, authorities said.

Hillsdale police issued a be-on-the-lookout alert for a 1998 Toyota Camry driven by Veronica Maria Martinez, 47, of Emerson after it hit two cars in their town around 5:15 p.m., Emerson Police Capt. George Buono told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

A short time later, another call came in from Oradell police that the same Camry had struck a car near Midland Avenue in Paramus and was believed headed north on Kinderkamack Road.

PHOTO: Stephen P. DiSalvo

Officer Joseph Alasio, who’d set up near the Dairy Queen, got behind the vehicle soon after, activating his lights and siren, but Martinez kept going, Buono said.

Emerson Police Sgt. Stephen Clark, who’d gone to Martinez’s house, then headed to the scene.

Clark had his emergency lights and siren on as he approached Linwood Avenue on Kinderkamack Road, Buono said.

“He slowed down, then went slowly through the intersection, when an eastbound vehicle crossed thorugh the amber light,” he said.

Clark’s cruiser hit the rear driver’s side of the car, sending it spinning, the captain said.

His own car hit a light post and a small tree and came to rest on curb at Emerson Plaza East, he said.

Clark had some soreness and pain in his neck and upper back, while the 64-year-old Emerson man driving the other car complained of abdominal pain, Buono said. Both were taken to Hackensack University Medical Center.

Clark later was released.

Martinez, meanwhile, stopped her car about 100 feet south of Linwood Avenue by the Emerson train station.

As Alasio reached in to put it in park, she hit the gas and dragged him 20 or so feet, Buono said.

The officer wasn’t injured seriously, he said.

At this point it was 6:45 p.m., an hour and a half after the original call.

Martinez later registered .26 on a breath test, the captain said.

She remained held on $20,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with resisting arrest and eluding police.

Martinez also received several summonses — for DWI, DWI in a school zone, reckless driving, improper passing and failing to maintain a lane, among others.

Additional charges were pending out of Hillsdale and Paramus.

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