Despite Hurricane, Police Still Have Crimes to Solve
Among the 500 or so calls answered by Lawrence Township police during 72 hours before, during and after Hurricane Sandy were an accident allegedly caused by a drunk driver and two alleged thefts.
Lawrence Township police responded to nearly 500 “calls for service” during the 72-hour period – Monday, Oct. 29, through Wednesday, Oct. 31 – before, during and after Hurricane Sandy. While the majority of those calls for assistance involved officers rendering aid to the public for a variety of storm-related emergencies, there were still some crimes that took place.
These included a crash involving an allegedly drunk driver and two thefts – one involving two teenagers who allegedly broke into a car parked on Graf Avenue, and the other involving an elderly woman and her son who allegedly stole a solar panel from a storm-damaged PSE&G utility pole on Berwyn Place.
The accident took place shortly before 3:15 a.m. Tuesday, as the storm was still battering the area with rain and wind.
Township police spokesman Lt. Mark Ubry said Artsiom Chykunou, 29, of Ellis Avenue, Trenton, lost control of his vehicle and slammed into a sign while driving in the wrong direction along one of the ramps connecting the Trenton Freeway (Route 1) and Whitehead Road.
Chykunou, who was not injured, failed field sobriety tests and was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, Ubry said.
He said Chykunou was charged with driving under the influence (DUI), reckless driving, careless driving, being an unlicensed driver, driving on a closed roadway (due to the municipal state of emergency that had been previously declared due to the hurricane) and four other related offenses.
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On Wednesday, a resident of Graf Avenue called police at 10 a.m. to report that a car parked along the street had just been burglarized, Ubry said. He said the caller reported spotting a young man “rummaging” through the car; that individual and another young man ran off when they realized they had been spotted.
A handful of items were later found to have been stolen from the car, including an iPod valued at $190, he said.
Several officers responded to the area and, with the assistance of a volunteer firefighter from Slackwood Fire Co., located the two suspects and took them into custody a few blocks away, he said.
The suspects – Jabril Collier, 19, of the 800 block of Stuyvesant Avenue, Trenton, and a 15-year-old Trenton boy whose name was withheld because he is a juvenile – were each charged with burglary to a vehicle and theft, according to Ubry.
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About 2:30 p.m. Wednesday a police officer who was directing traffic onto Berwyn Place from a storm-closed section of Route 206 allegedly observed Patricia Elley, 68, and her son Aaron Elley, 32, both of the 400 block of Cleveland Avenue in Trenton, steal a solar panel from a snapped PSE&G utility pole lying along the side of Berwyn Place, Ubry said.
Aaron Elley exited the passenger’s side of the sport utility vehicle being driven by his mother, allegedly wrestled the solar panel from the downed pole, and then placed the panel on the roof of their vehicle, according to Ubry. He said the vehicle then drove away but was stopped a minute later on Review Avenue by Detectives Kevin Reading Jr. and Dave Burns.
Aaron Elley and his mother were each charged with theft, Ubry said.
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Police are also investigating a complaint about items having been stolen from several construction trailers on the property of the state Motor Vehicle Commission’s Bakers Basin facility off Route 1 but full details about the theft and what was taken were not immediately available.
Police were notified of the crime at 8:24 a.m. Wednesday.
Previous Mercer County-Specific Hurricane Sandy Coverage:
- Nov. 2: "Lawrence Township's Friday Post-Hurricane Update"
- Nov. 1: “Missed LTPS School Days To Be Made Up Next Week, SATs Postponed Until Nov. 17”
- Nov. 1: “Notre Dame Cancels School Friday, Reschedules SATs”
- Nov. 1: “Lawrence Township's Thursday Post-Hurricane Update”
- Nov. 1: “Preliminary Mercer Damage Estimate: Over $2.5 Million”
- Oct. 31: “Power-Loss Safety Concerns Prompt Evacuations (Lawrence Township)”
- Oct. 31: “Princeton Township Opens Municipal Building to Residents”
- Oct. 31: “Widespread Power Outages Remain in Hightstown, East Windsor, Cranbury”
- Oct. 30: "Storm Cleanup Effort Underway in Lawrence Township"
- Oct. 30: "Photo Gallery: Lawrence Township & Hurricane Sandy"
- Oct. 30: "Lawrence Township: What's Going On With Sandy?"
- Oct. 30: “Hurricane Sandy Brings Chaos to Princeton”
- Oct. 30: "Princeton Man Dies During Hurricane Sandy"
- Oct. 30: “Photo Gallery: Hurricane Sandy Aftermath (East Windsor)”
- Oct. 30: “Photo Gallery: Hurricane Sandy (East Windsor)”
- Oct. 29: "Stay Off the Roads, Mercer County Executive Urges"
- Oct. 29: "Mercer County Residents Urged to 'Shelter in Place'"
- Oct. 28: “Mercer County Braces for Storm”
- Oct. 28: “No Unauthorized Travel Allowed After 6 Tonight as Lawrence Township Declares State of Emergency”
- Oct. 28: “Closings, Cancellations Around East Windsor, Hightstown, and Cranbury”
- Oct. 27: “Lawrence Township Braces for Hurricane Sandy”
- Oct. 27: “Princeton Prepares for Hurricane Sandy”
- Oct. 27: “'Limited' State of Emergency Declared in Mercer County”
- Oct. 27: “Area Municipalities Prepare For Sandy”
- Oct. 26: “Mercer County Mobilizes Resources in Advance of Sandy”
- Oct. 26: “County Executive Urges Residents to Prepare for Sandy”