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  • Writer's pictureThe Hammonton Gazette

DWI on train tracks


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HAMMONTON—Joseph T. Higbee, 24, of Hammonton was charged with driving while under the influence (DWI) after police found his vehicle lodged on the NJ Transit railroad tracks downtown near the intersection of Railroad Avenue and Orchard Street at 2:47 a.m. on November 24, Hammonton Police Chief Kevin Friel said.


“While Officer Travis Hoffman was on patrol in the area of the 12th Street and Railroad Avenue, he observed a vehicle stuck on the New Jersey Transit railroad tracks near the intersection of Railroad Avenue and Orchard Street,” Friel said.


Hoffman observed four individuals near the vehicle, a 2016 gray Hyundai Sonata, which was lodged upon the train tracks, Friel said.


The driver identified himself as Joseph T. Higbee, 24, of Hammonton, Friel said.


“Officer Hoffman detected a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath. Higbee advised he was driving from down the road and had had a couple of drinks,” Friel said.


Higbee was placed under arrest, transported to police headquarters for processing, and charged with the following motor vehicle violations: driving while under the influence, careless driving, reckless driving and failing to maintain lane of travel, Friel said.


He was released as per John’s Law pending court in Hammonton Joint Municipal Court, Friel said, adding that Hoffman was the investigating and arresting officer.


A separate and unrelated driving while under the influence arrest was made at 12:23 on November 24 at the intersection of Bellevue Avenue and Fourth Street, Friel said.


Officer Matthew Heiser observed a blue Subaru wagon stopped in the area of Fourth Street, Friel said.


He observed two children in the back seat and the driver was identified as Juan Lopez, 36, of Pleasantville, Friel said.


“He had bloodshot watery eyes and the odor of alcohol emanating from his person. He was also observed to have a bloody lip and scratches on his neck,” Friel said.


When asked what happened, Lopez answered that he had been assaulted in Princeton and was attempting to return home to Pleasantville when he stopped to check his GPS, Friel said.

EMS was called to the scene and Lopez refused medical attention, Friel said. He was placed under arrest for driving while under the influence, transported to police headquarters for processing and charged with the following motor vehicle summonses and criminal offenses: Two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, driving while under the influence, careless driving, reckless driving, unlicensed driver, unregistered vehicle, failure to possess his insurance card, driving while under the influence with a minor in the vehicle and failure to possess his driver’s license, Friel said, adding that Lopez was released as per John’s Law pending an appearance in Atlantic County Superior Court.


Friel said Heiser was the investigating and arresting officer.


This report is comprised of arrests and investigations made by the men and women of local enforcement. All suspects and arrested are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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