An SUV being driven by a suspected drunk driver from Point Pleasant veered off Burnt Tavern Road just after 1 a.m. Saturday morning, seriously injuring one passenger, authorities said.
Police were alerted to an erratic driver traveling south on Burnt Tavern Road from Route 70 towards Point Pleasant at 1:22 a.m. by a 911 caller, according to Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Point Pleasant and Brick police responded to the call, ultimately locating a vehicle overturned in the wooded area past the northbound shoulder, Della Fave said.
“One occupant was seen attempting to leave the scene through the woods carrying a case of beer,” Della Fave said. “Two other occupants were near the shoulder of the roadway, while a fourth subject was partially ejected from the passenger side rear door.”
Brick Police “immediately” recognized signs of intoxication on the man identified as the operator, Andrew L. Roe, 23, of Point Pleasant, who was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated and transported to Brick Police Department, Della Fave said.
Patrick Smalling, 25, of Point Pleasant, a passenger, was walking on scene with no complaints of pain, attempted to leave on foot, and was subsequently placed under arrest for obstructing the investigation and transported to Brick Police Department for processing, said Della Fave. Another Passenger, Brandon Nikola, 25, of Point Pleasant, had no complaints of pain and was transported home by officers from the Point Pleasant Borough police department.
Nikola confirmed Roe was driving, said Della Fave.
A third passenger, Michael Guerrero, 25, of Point Pleasant, was found to have been partially ejected from the vehicle and was transported to Jersey University Medical Center’s trauma wing with serious injuries.
Roe was additionally charged with third degree assault by auto with bail set at $15,000 cash in Brick municipal court. Smalling had bail set at $1,000 and also had a $500 warrant out of Point Pleasant. Both Roe and Smalling were transported to Ocean County Jail in default of bail. Roe was also charged with 6 motor vehicle violations, including the DWI charge.
The Brick Police Traffic Safety Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicle Homicide Unit, and Ocean County Sheriff’s CSI conducted the crash investigation. Tire marks indicated that the red 2003 Ford Explorer was traveling in a southerly direction on Burnt Tavern Road approaching Mill Pond Road when, for an unknown reason, it veered into the shoulder and began to cross lanes into the northbound side of the roadway, Della Fave said.
“The vehicle entered into a critical speed yaw, hit the unimproved shoulder and rolled onto its roof into the wooded area where it came to final rest,” he said.