RANDOLPH, NJ- Arrested:  John Paulsen  Age 20  Morristown NJ

On January 20, 2016 at 12:55AM, Officer Michael Puskas was working in a construction zone on Sussex Turnpike and Mt. Freedom Ave.  Sussex Turnpike was closed with barricades and cones set up.  Officers were working this detail to block the road to provide protection to the construction zone.  A detour was set up to divert traffic to Mt. Freedom Ave. 

Officer Puskas had his vehicle parked about 30 Feet West of the closure, and was sitting in his vehicle with his emergency lights activated.  Officer Sean Verbist also was at the road closure and parked next to Officer Puskas.  Officer Verbist also had emergency lights activated.  Both patrol vehicles were facing East. 

Sign Up for E-News

John Paulsen, who was driving a 2002 Toyota Rav 4 was traveling East on Sussex Tpk.  Mr. Paulsen drove through the barricades and cones.  Officer Verbist yelled to Officer Puskas and attempted to move his vehicle out of the way.  Paulsen then struck Officer Puskas' patrol vehicle head on, with Officer Puskas still seated in the vehicle. 

The impact of the crash caused extensive damage to the patrol car and Mr. Paulsen’s car.  In addition, debris from the crash also caused damage to the patrol vehicle operated by Officer Verbist.  Officer Puskas was injured and transported to Morristown Medical Center.  He was later released.  Mr. Paulsen was not injured.

Upon investigation of the crash, Mr. Paulsen was arrested and charged with Assault by Auto, DWI, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug paraphernalia.  He was also issued several motor vehicle summons and released pending court. 

The Morris County Sherriff's office assisted with the crime scene investigation.  In addition, the Randolph Rescue Squad and Randolph Fire Department assisted at the crash.