YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST: Youngsters were arriving at a Fort Lee elementary school and pre-school kindergarten across the street from one another when a morning rush-hour police chase ended near the doors of both buildings.
Elementary School No. 2 was immediately locked down as police stopped the car on Jones Road beneath the Route 1 bridge, barely 50 feet from the school crosswalk, and arrested three Bronx men who they said were carrying codeine without a prescription.
As his colleagues took the trio into custody, one officer kept back onlookers — some of them parents with small children — while another dashed straight to the school to protect the youngsters.
The ordeal was over within minutes and the silver, four-door Mercedes Benz with New York license plates was towed from the scene.
Inside, police found a nine-ounce clear baby bottle containing liquid codeine, Detective Capt. Stanley Zon said in a news release this afternoon.
The incident began just after 8 a.m. last Thursday morning, Nov. 13, when Officer Gabriel Cappola pulled over the driver for riding on the right shoulder at Route 1 and North Avenue, Zon said.
Cappola said he detected a strong odor of burnt marijuana after asking the driver, identified as 22-year-old Enmanuel Pimentel, for his paperwork.
Pimetel then sped off, Zon said.
Other Fort Lee officers quickly chased the sedan to Jones Road, stopping it a few feet north of Walnut Street.
Meanwhile, police and district officials had the grammar school put into lockdown for the safety of its children and staff, the captain said.
Others who hadn’t made it to either facility were temporarily held back just south of the scene.
Pimental (wearing hoodie in photos) was charged with eluding.
He and his passengers — identified as Yan D. Artiles, 23, and Luis E. Tejeda, 22 — were charged with possession of drugs (the codeine) and drug paraphernalia.
Pimental spent six nights in the Bergen County Jail before being released yesterday on $15,000 bail.
Tejeda and Artiles posted $500 bail each last Friday and were released.
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