By sue m. morgan

Staff Writer
Teen arrested after chase, swim through swamp

By sue m. morgan Staff Writer Teen arrested after chase, swim through swamp

Staff Writer
Teen arrested after chase, swim through swamp

OLD BRIDGE — A teenager who eluded police by running through a Laurence Harbor neighborhood and jumping into a swamp was arrested on several charges early Saturday morning.

The 17-year-old male was charged with aggravated assault and possession of drugs, among other offenses, after being caught by police at approximately 12:23 a.m.

Officer Steven Connelly arrested the teenager, a resident of Ocean Boulevard, Cliffwood Beach, outside of a private home near Lincoln Avenue and Harding Road in Laurence Harbor.

Just minutes before, as Connelly had pursued the juvenile on foot on nearby Garfield Avenue and ordered him to halt, the suspect threw a bottle of Corona beer at the officer, according to police. The bottle did not hit the officer.

Another bottle of beer, along with drugs and drug-related paraphernalia, were found in a blue down jacket found by Officer Ronald Atlak approximately 30 feet from the spot where Connelly apprehended the suspect, reports state. The juvenile had reportedly been wearing the same jacket when Connelly first encountered him as he walked south on Garfield Avenue toward Harding Road.

Two small plastic bags believed to be holding marijuana, several small empty plastic glassine bags, a balancing scale and a cigar were also found inside the down jacket, which Atlak had retrieved to search for the suspect’s identification, reports state.

The juvenile was ultimately charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drugs with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia, obstruction of justice and aggravated assault.

According to police reports, Connelly first responded to the area shortly after midnight Saturday to investigate a reported altercation along Garfield Avenue.

Upon arrival, Connelly was directed by area residents to a juvenile who was observed walking south on Garfield Avenue. Connelly approached the boy in his patrol vehicle, rolled down the window and told the juvenile to stop for questioning.

The juvenile then began running toward Harding Road with Connelly in pursuit on foot. The suspect then tossed the beer bottle at Connelly, according to reports.

After running behind a house on Harding Avenue, the suspect removed his down jacket and jumped into the swamp that separates the neighborhood from Route 35. As the boy swam to the middle of the swamp, Connelly remained on the bank while other township officers gathered on the other side, reports state.

When the suspect emerged from the swamp, he walked up a hill to Harding Road, where he was apprehended by Connelly.

The suspect was transported by a local first aid squad to a nearby hospital to be treated for possible exposure. The suspect was later processed and released to the custody of his uncle, reports state.