An overnight scuffle with a drunken passenger during a traffic stop left a New Milford police officer with a bloody nose and his assailant facing charges, authorities said.
Officer William Reardon stopped the vehicle for failing to maintain a lane on New Bridge Road around 1:15 a.m. Thursday, Detective Lt. Kevin Van Saders said.
Reardon was talking with the driver when he noticed that back seat passenger Joseph Marino, 35, of New Milford wasn’t wearing a seat belt, Van Saders said.
The officer also detected a strong odor of alcohol, he said.
As Reardon and backup Officer Sam Doran investigated, an intoxicated Marino “kept moving in his seat and failed to respond to officer’s commands to remain calm,” Van Saders said.
He then began to berate the officers, becoming more aggressive, despite several requests to stop, the lieutenant said.
The officers were concluding the stop when Marino, still inside the car, “became extremely irate, threw the summons he received for not wearing a seat belt, and began to scream profanities at them,” Van Saders said.
When Marino refused to close the car door or leave the scene, the officers began to take him into custody, he said.
He resisted and had to be pulled from the vehicle, the lieutenant said.
Marino then refused to be handcuffed and continued to resist officers, at one point hitting Reardon in the face with his arm, Van Saders said.
The officers eventually subdued Marino, who “continued to threaten and use vulgar language against them” while being processed, he said.
They charged him with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, obstruction, making terroristic threats and disorderly conduct and sent Marino to the Bergen County Jail.
Within hours, a judge in Hackensack ordered him released pending further court action under New Jersey’s 2017 bail reform law.
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