TENAFLY, N.J. – A drunk driver from Lodi plowed his car into the back of a Tenafly police cruiser, rendering it a total loss, authorities said Tuesday.
An officer had the Dodge Charger parked along the southbound shoulder of Knickerbocker Road near Greentree Terrace, with its emergency lights on, as he spoke with a motorist he’d stopped just before 10 p.m. Sunday, Capt. Michael deMoncada said.
Suddenly, the cruiser was struck from behind by a 2008 Honda Civic driven by 27-year-old Natanael Otero, deMoncada said
Police filed DWI charges against Otero, who was taken to Englewood Hospital Medical Center after complaining of minor injuries, the captain said.
They also charged him with consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle, careless driving and reckless driving, he said.
They later released Otero to a family member, deMoncada said.
“While there were fortunately no serious injuries, the Joint Insurance Fund adjuster for the borough declared the police cruiser a total loss following an inspection,” Police Chief Robert Chamberlain said.
“The car was the newest vehicle in the fleet, which has recently suffered from other premature vehicle losses,” the chief said.
“Replacing a specialty vehicle like a police cruiser with all of its equipment (i.e., dashboard camera system, mobile computer, radar, emergency lights, siren and radio) is a time-consuming process.
“The loss of this car places an added strain on the remaining cars that are now forced to run for longer periods,” Chamberlain said.