SOUTH BRUNSWICK: ‘Routine’ stop nabs wanted man

A “routine” traffic stop ended with officers taking a wanted man into custody Saturday night.

By Charles W. Kim, Managing Editor
A “routine” traffic stop ended with officers taking a wanted man into custody Saturday night.
   According to police, Patrolman George Vit stopped an erratic driver north near the Target department store on Route 1 at 10:56 p.m. on Saturday night.
   Officer Vit, a seven year veteran and drug recognition expert, was on patrol when he observed a 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer that was swerving and nearly striking the concrete divider, according to police.
   Police said officer Vit attempted to stop the vehicle but it continued to drive at a slow pace for a quarter mile, finally coming to a stop just past Whispering Woods Boulevard.
   Officer Vit approached the vehicle and began to speak to the driver, later identified as Donald Harris, 25, of Somerset.
   Police said that Mr. Harris “appeared confused” and was unable to produce a driver’s license, registration, or insurance card during the stop.
   According to police, Mr. Harris had a “white powdery substance on his nostrils” and reportedly identified himself as Jerrell Williams.
   Patrolman John Niper then arrived as a backup for Officer Vit.
   Police said that Mr. Harris repeatedly failed to follow commands after he exited the vehicle, and, at one point, asked to go back into the vehicle.
   Officer Vit told him he could not go back into the vehicle and then directed him to follow instructions for field sobriety tests and keep his hands out of his pockets, police said.
   According to police, Mr. Harris was unable to perform the test, and Officer Vit informed him he was under arrest for driving while impaired.
       It was at that time, according to police, that Harris broke free from the officers as they began to cuff him.
   He reportedly ran into the Whispering Woods Development with officers Niper and Vit in pursuit.
   Officer Niper caught up to Mr. Harris behind the homes on Mahogany Court and tackled him.
   Police said that Mr. Harris then struggled with the officers who used compliance holds to gain control of him.
   Officers went back to the vehicle and reportedly discovered that Mr. Harris had a loaded .25 caliber semi-automatic next to his driver’s seat.
   In addition, Mr. Harris was found to have a folding knife on his waist, police said.
   During a search of the vehicle, officers reportedly recovered cash and narcotics.
   Police also discovered that Somerset County wanted Mr. Harris for possession of an assault weapon and narcotic distribution.
   Police said that Mr. Harris was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, unlawful possession of prescription drugs, resisting arrest, driving while impaired, and refusal to submit to a breathalyzer and numerous motor vehicle summonses.
   He was lodged in the Middlesex County Correction Center on $15,000 bail.
   Police Chief Raymond Hayducka credited the officers for their quick and decisive actions.
   ”This is just another example of the dangers police officers face every day. This suspect was wanted, impaired, and armed at the time of the motor vehicle stop,” Chief Hayducka said. “Officers Vit and Niper did a tremendous job of taking a dangerous suspect off the street.”