LODI, N.J.(CBSNewYork/AP) — A police officer was seriously injured in a multi-vehicle crash caused by an alleged drunken driver in Lodi, N.J. Saturday morning.
Just before 2 a.m. two Bergen County police vehicles were stopped on Route 46 West when one of them was rear-ended by a black, 2012 Ford Fusion, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office said.
As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported, the cruiser was in the far right lane and had its emergency light on when the crash occurred.
“I saw two cars damaged bad, very bad, especially the black car,” nearby resident Jawad Fattouh said. “In the front and back and the two side doors, it was all gone.”
According to authorities, the Ford Fusion was driven by 36-year-old Michael Ettz, of Lodi.
Police Officer Daniel Breslin, 39, suffered serious injuries during the crash and was entrapped in his vehicle, police said.
He was extricated and transported to Hackensack University Medical Center with a skull fracture and broken ribs, Champion reported. He was listed in critical condition Saturday evening.
Jeanne Baratta, chief of staff for the county executive, told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith that Breslin’s injuries were life-threatening.
“He was in surgery this morning. He was rushed in full trauma to Hackensack University Medical Center,” Baratta said.
After reporting the accident, officer Frank Canaje removed Ettz from his vehicle and brought him to an area off the roadway. Ettz then fled the scene on foot, authorities said, but he was soon found in the backyard of a neaby home by Lodi police.
Ettz, a mathematics teacher and athletics coach at Lodi High School, faces several charges including driving while intoxicated, Champion reported.
Ettz is currently in the hospital, but is expected to be taken into custody when he is released.
The crash forced officials to shut down several lanes on Rte. 46, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported. All lanes have since reopened.
Breslin is married and has two children. Before joining the Bergen County Police Department he served as a cop in South Hackensack. He had been assisting Canaje with the radio in his vehicle at the time of the crash.
A family member who didn’t want to go on camera called him a dedicated officer and an even more dedicated family man.