New Milford drunk driver rams pole, hits police car, tries to flee, chief says

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former janitorial service president with a criminal record steered his SUV into a pole, side-swiped a police cruiser, then led officers on a chase before trying to fight them off, New Milford Police Chief Frank Papapietro said this morning.

Photo Credit: New Milford PD

It was 8:30 on Christmas Even when police got a 911 call about a vehicle smashing into the utility pole near Fulton Street and Summit Avenue.

Moments later, Sgt. Brian Clancy spotted a white Nissan Pathfinder backing away from a damaged pole and taking off, Papapietro said.

It then sideswiped Clancy’s cruiser and kept going, he said. Clancy turned his car around and chased the vehicle west.

The SUV swerved several times into the eastbound lane before the sergeant manuevered his cruiser in front and stopped it.

The driver, identified as 51-year-old Bajrani Ndregjoni of New Milford, refused Clancy’s orders to get out, the chief said.

So Clancy opened the driver’s door and pulled him out.

They scuffled briefly before the sergeant, assisted by Lt. John O’Malley, got him into handcuffs, Papapietro said.

Police found an open bottle of cognac on the floor of the Nissan was severely damaged, he said.

Ndregjoni later refused to submit to a breath test at headquarters, Papapietro said.

He was released without bail to a relative pending a Municipal Court hearing on charges of:

  • 3rd-degree aggravated assault on a police officer
  • Eluding
  • Resisting arrest
  • DWI
  • DWI within 1,000 ft. of a school zone
  • Having an open alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle
  • Leaving the scene of an accident with property damage
  • Refusing to take a breath test
  • Reckless driving
  • Running a stop sign
  • Unsafe lane changing
  • Failing to yield to an emergency vehicle

The officers were not seriously injured in the incident and remain on duty, Papapietro said.

Meanwhile, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has found that Ndregjoni originally is from Florida, where he ran a cleaning service — and was jailed five years ago for violating a restraining order.

MUGSHOT: New Milford PD

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