ONLY ON CVP: A short time after reviving an 82-year-old woman who stopped breathing on a city street, Hackensack Police Officer Victor Vazquez arrested a wanted ex-con who’d been taunting him during a drug stop. But that wasn’t all.
Hackensack Police Director Michael Mordaga tried calling Vazquez in to congratulate him this afternoon.
But the officer apologized: He was helping subdue two men who led police on a chase that ended with a roadside brawl on Route 80 in Ridgefield Park.
Vazquez came to the city department in November from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office.
“Only five months and he’s doing a great job,” Mordaga told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Some citizens agree.
“While our paths may never cross again, know that I will never forget what I saw up close and personal this afternoon — Officer Victor Vazquez, a real hero in action, on Essex Street in Hackensack,” Rosanna Wright wrote in a letter yesterday to Mayor John P. Labrosse, Jr.
Wright said she was on NJ Transit Bus #712 headed towards Main Street around 12:30 yesterday afternoon when an elderly woman trying to board at Railroad Avenue “started started to sway a bit.”
The woman collapsed on the sidewalk and a group of good Samaritans immediately surrounded her.
One of them was Wright, who said she “kneeled down to try to help make her more comfortable until help came.”
“The poor woman began to vomit, wet her clothing, and then her eyes went blank,” she said.
As she frantically began looking around for help, Wright said, Vazquez arrived.
He radioed in, then laid the victim on the ground and began doing chest compressions, she said.
“He did about 7 or 8 compressions and this lovely woman suddenly started breathing!” Wright wrote in her letter, a copy of which was obtained by CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
“There you are. Good for you. You’re back!” Vazquez told the victim.
“I know there has been a lot of adverse talk and publicity about the Hackensack Police Department over the last several years,” Wright wrote, “but Officer Victor Vazquez is proof that this City is in good, caring hands … and hearts.”
He was only just beginning, though.
An hour and a half later, Vazquez stopped a car on Central Avenue. As he spoke to the driver, Mordaga said, two men nearby began taunting him.
When he was done, Vazquez and another officer approached them.
One of the men, it turned out, was 28-year-old Alec Parker, a city ex-con with a 10-year adult arrest history, Mordaga said.
A short time earlier, city detectives entered Parker’s name as wanted in connection with a 3 a.m. street robbery that morning on High Street.
Parker was already awaiting separate trials robbery and drug charges, records show, when police said he hit a 21-year-old man over the head and took his wallet.
Arrested by Vazquez, Parker was being held on $50,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail.
Mordaga said he returned to his office from a meeting earlier today to find Wright’s letter to the mayor. He said he immediately tried getting hold of Vazquez to congratulate him.
“I didn’t even know about the Parker arrest yet,” he said.
When he tried reaching him, Mordaga said, he discovered that Vazquez had rushed to Ridgefield Park to back up fellow officers following a high-speed chase that began on Vreeland Avenue in the city and ended on Route 80 in Ridgefield Park. Officers from several surrounding towns assisted, as well.
“Citizens were calling 911 from their cellphones in their cars to report two guys fighting with police on the side of the highway,” the director said.
The officers subdued the pair and recovered 250 bags of heroin, Mordaga said. They were being processed late this afternoon on charges of aggravated assault on police, resisting arrest, and possession with the intent to distribute heroin ( CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR DETAILS) .
The director, meanwhile, was planning on shaking Vazquez’s hand — “soon as I can get him to stand still.”
PHOTO: Courtesy HACKENSACK PD
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