Updated as of 6:57 p.m. Wednesday
FAIRFIELD, NJ - As first reported by West Essex TAP early Wednesday morning, area police departments were asked to assist with mutual aid to the Fairfield Police Department after a call went out telling area police that one of the Fairfield police officers had been "struck by a vehicle." It later turned out that the officer's vehicle was intentionally struck by the van, not the officer directly. According to the officer, Sergeant Chris Morgan, he is "a little sore" but is otherwise in satisfactory condition.
Fairfield Police Deputy Chief Anthony Manna has reported that the incident began at 12:29 a.m. when officers John McGrory and Jeffrey Dean spotted a suspicious persons at the Valero Gas station, located at 650 Route 46 East. They reportedly saw two white vans at the Valero pumps that appeared to the officers to be filling up gas cans and 55 gallon drums.
The police were suspicious of the person's actions because they were similar to an incident reported in the media concerning individuals who were operating vans and filling up gas cans and 55 gallon drums while paying for them with fake credit cards.
When the officers approached the individuals to investigate, it is alleged that one of them, 42-years old Rubens Dubuisson of Philadelphia, fled from the officers on foot. He was pursued by McGrory and Dean and apprehended a short time later in the Target parking lot. At this same time, the vans both allegedly fled the gas station.
Rubens Dubuisson of Philadelphia Credit: Fairfield Police
At approximately 12:34 a.m., a call went out to North Caldwell and West Caldwell police, and then soon after to to the area town departments as well, to report to Valero Gas, near Target on Route 46 East in Fairfield. The police were told to look for a white Ford van with a New York license plate which was traveling on 46 East.
The West Essex First Aid Squad also reported to the Fairfield police headquarters to assist the officer.
One of the vans, a 2007 Ford Econoline, which was being driven by Boubacar Diallo, 62-years old from Brooklyn, attempted to exit onto Route 46 East and then allegedly deliberately rammed a Fairfield police car being operated by Sergeant Morgan.
Boubacar Diallo of Brooklyn Credit: Fairfield Police
It was at this time that the van became disabled and it is alleged that Diallo fled on foot and was later apprehended by Morgan. While checking this van, officers allegedly found Fritz Lazare, 38 years old of Brooklyn, in the rear of it and he was taken into custody.
Fritz Lazare of Brooklyn Credit: Fairfield Police
At the same time, the department put out a call to locate the second white Ford van, with an Arizona license plate, possibly being driven by two black males. At the time, that car was last seen driving west bound on Fairfield Road - parallel to Route 46 - towards the police headquarters.
An officer from the Montville Police Department reportedly spotted the second vehicle at 1:08 a.m. near Plymouth Street in Fairfield. The van was allegedly being operated by Jean Cotard, 37, of Brooklyn, who was also taken into custody without incident.
Jean Cotard of Brooklyn Credit: Fairfield Police
All of the suspects are being held at the Fairfield Police Department and charged with causing widespread injury or damage. In addition, Diallo is also being charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and using a vehicle as a weapon.
Fairfield police have alleged that both vans were found to contain over 600 gallons of gasoline that were contained in mostly 5 gallon plastic containers and 55 gallon plastic drums. The vans were towed to the Fairfield Municipal Complex and were impounded at this location.
Tim Connolly, Deputy Chief of the Fairfield Fire Department, reported that the department responded to the the incident to "initially secure the minor leaking of fuel from the back of the vans" and then again they reported at 7:30 a.m. to "supply water suppression if needed in case of any spark or spillage."
Connolly explained that the fire department secured the scene of any possible danger so that the police and DEP could unload the gasoline safely. "We had to ventilate all fumes that had gathered in the vans that were causing high readings before it could be safely removed and inspected," he said.
Working on having the hose line in place with Connolly were Fairfield firefighters Matt Scholtz and Matt Napolitano.
From left: Matt Scholtz and Tim Connolly Credit: Fairfield Fire Department
From left: Matt Napolitano and Matt Scholtz on the water line and Tim Connolly in the white hat
Credit: Fairfield Fire Department