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Boy, 16, Arrested For Allegedly Throwing Bottle That Nearly Blinded N.J. Firefighter

Victoria Kovacs

Garfield, N.J. volunteer firefighter Victoria Kovacs was nearly blinded when someone threw a bottle at her fire truck on Friday,. March 28. (Credit: CBS 2)

GARFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A 16-year-old boy was arrested in Garfield, N.J. Tuesday and charged with throwing a bottle at a fire truck, and leaving a volunteer firefighter with eye injuries that nearly left her blind.

The boy, whose name was not released, was charged as a juvenile with second-degree aggravated assault and third-degree interference with transportation, Garfield police said.

An additional charge of criminal mischief was also pending upon repair of the fire truck.

Around 10 p.m. this past Friday, the suspect allegedly was the one who threw a bottle through one of the windows of the fire truck while it raced to an emergency. CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez talked to the victim – Garfield, N.J. volunteer firefighter Victoria Kovacs, 22 – on Monday night.

“It just was like a big bang, and then there was glass everywhere,” she said.

Three nights after the attack, Kovacs has been forced to wear sunglasses around the clock – dulling the pain after the frightening attack nearly blinded her.

“I was sitting over here in the second seat, right across diagonal from this second seat, and we went through the intersection at Monroe near Commerce Street when something hit the window and it shattered,” Kovacs said. “I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know if we had hit something, if somebody was throwing something at us, if somebody had shot the window.”

Tiny pieces of tempered glass flew into Kovacs’ face, cutting up both her corneas.

“It hurt to blink,” she said. “It hurt to close my eyes.”

At the time of the attack, Kovacs with her fire company as they responded to a report of smoke at a local Wal-Mart.

A group of suspects was huddled on the corner of Palisades Avenue and Monroe Street in Garfield. Police said it was reported that a group of teenagers ages 14 to 17 wearing hoodies and dark-colored clothing fled north on Palisade Avenue and west on Monroe Street from the scene.

One person with a glass bottle had to have used a great deal of force to whip it clear across one traffic lane and through the fire truck window.

Kovacs reminded anyone who would think of committing such an attack of the reason firefighters are out there.

“Some things shouldn’t be taken as lightly as you do I, and you know, if somebody got hurt because of something you thought was funny — and we’re out here trying to help you, so you shouldn’t be trying to hurt us,” Kovacs said.

The suspect was released to the custody of a guardian pending an appearance before a Family Court judge at the Bergen County courthouse.

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