FLEMINGTON, NJ – The Hunterdon Freeholder who was charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving was carrying $12,500 in $100 bills when he was taken into custody in August, TAPinto has learned.
The incident involving John E. Lanza happened Aug. 5, and Lanza was cited Sept. 3, records show.
Raritan Township Police Officers Connor Gallagher and Dustin Pflug found Lanza slumped over the steering wheel of his black 2015 Ford Explorer around 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 5, according to police records. The SUV, which was pulled to the far right side of Milestone Drive in Raritan Township, was running, and there were no other occupants, according to Gallagher’s report.
Though Gallagher and Pflug attempted to rouse Lanza by repeatedly shouting and banging on the window, Lanza was unresponsive, the report states. Gallagher decided to force entry into the vehicle by breaking the front passenger window, which allowed him to open the door.
EMTs from 49 Rescue transported Lanza to Hunterdon Medical Center by ambulance. The nature of his impairment was unknown at the time. According to the report, police sought from HMC medical information about Lanza “based on their observations and admissions made to medical personnel.”
Gallagher noted in his report that police found two bank envelopes in the center console of the Explorer. One contained $6,500 in $100 bills. The other contained $6,000 in $100 bills. The cash was secured in an evidence locker at Raritan Township police headquarters.
Lanza, 43, serves as the Deputy Director on the Hunterdon Freeholder board and is up for re-election this year. He has also served as the municipal prosecutor in East Amwell and Delaware Townships. Lanza has said he will plead not guilty to the charges and has temporarily stepped aside from his prosecutor jobs.
Lanza, an attorney with a law office on Main Street here, referred press inquiries to attorney John Paul Velez of the Ledgewood-based Forster Arbore Velez law firm.
In a written statement, Velez said Lanza suffered a “medical emergency” and “is most grateful to the Raritan Township police officers who took decisive action, and for the assistance of Flemington-Raritan Rescue Squad members and the staff at Hunterdon Medical Center, in what could have been a life-threatening situation. We are confident that this matter will be resolved fairly in the Sparta Municipal Court.”
Velez said the cash was for a payment to a contractor and has been returned to Lanza.
Stay with TAPinto Flemington for updates.