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Hackensack River plunge in River Vale police chase leads to charges against Rockland man

Photo Credit: Courtesy RIVER VALE PD

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: What potentially began as a minor pot possession offense turned into a world of trouble for a Rockland County man who led two River Vale police officers on a chase that ended up requiring hospital visits for all three after they plunged into the Hackensack River before dawn this morning.

River Vale police were talking to the driver of a 2010 Honda that pulled into a DWI checkpoint at 2 a.m. when they smelled the odor of burned pot, Sgt. John DeVoe said. The officers directed the driver to a nearby lot, where they conducted a field sobriety test, he said.

Believing that the passenger had eaten some marijuana, they pulled him out of the car, DeVoe said.

The man – identified as 23-year-old Edward Best – then bolted, he said. Two officers chased him while those remaining arrested the driver for DWI, the sergeant said.

The pursuit took them “down a nearby street, through residential yards, and through the Hackensack River,” where they caught Best, DeVoe said.

River Vale, Hillsdale, and Westwood took the officers and Best to HackensackUMC at Pascack in Westwood to be treated for hypothermia, the sergeant said. They were released soon after, he said.

The driver, a 32-year-old Pomona man, was charged with DWI, being under the influence of marijuana (a disorderly persons offense) and having no insurance, among other offenses. He was released without bail pending a Municipal Court hearing.

Best, meanwhile, was taken to the Bergen County Jail, where bail was set at $40,000.

Best is charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer (for injuries sustained by police during the chase), resisting  arrest by creating a “substantial risk of causing physical injury to a public servant,” obstruction, and being under the influence of pot, among other charges. He, too, must appear in Municipal Court on Jan. 7.

MUGSHOT: Courtesy RIVER VALE PD

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