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Westwood pair involved in jogger assault sent to hospital after brawl with police

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: A Westwood father and son charged with hitting a jogger with a car got into a brawl with police from several towns Sunday night, sending both to the hospital and leaving several officers with cuts and bruises.

Westwood police responded to an apparent domestic violence incident at a 4th Avenue home where they ran into Nicholas R. Verastegui, 19, and his father, 45-year-old Fred E. Verastegui around 11 p.m.

A brawl ensued, and police from River Vale, Emerson, Washington Township and Woodcliff Lake rushed to the scene to help, witnesses told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

“There was punching, pepper spray, etc.,” one said. “Several officers had swollen faces, cut heads and other bruises. A female officer took a punch to the head, so she’ll probably have a headache, at the very least. [Another officer] got cut on the bridge of the nose.”

Also injured were both Verasteguis, who were taken to Hackensack University Medical Center.

The father remained in the hospital overnight with injuries, and was transferred this morning to the Bergen County Jail, charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and hindering apprehension. Bail was set at $25,000.

His son, taken to the jail hours earlier, is charged with three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer. His bail is $50,000, records show.

Westwood police arrested Nicholas Verastegui in February and charged him with using his car to hit a jogger after an argument.

The two began fighting after crossing paths at the corner of Kinderkamack Road and Palm Street on Feb. 21, Westwood Police Chief Frank Regino said at the time. After the jogger ran off, Verastegui picked up his father, he said.

Spotting the runner a couple blocks away, on Lexington Avenue, the elder Verastegui reportedly got out of the car and continued the argument, the chief said.

As the man began to run again, Regino said, Nicholas Verastegui hit the gas. The silver Honda crossed the sidewalk at a driveway, hitting the jogger, who fell across the hood and onto a front lawn, he said.

The elder Verastegui got back in and they drove off, the chief said.

The jogger was hospitalized with a broken collarbone, in addition to bruises and scratches.

Arrests were made within a week.

Nicholas Verastegui was free on $50,000 bail, pending court action on charges of aggravated assault and various traffic violations, when Sunday night’s call came in.

Fred Verastegui was free on $20,000 bail, charged with making terroristic threats.

Both could be headed to the Bergen County Jail this time if they cannot post bail.

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