MOUNT ARLINGTON, NJ - The Mount Arlington police officer struck by a vehicle Tuesday evening was identified today as Sgt. James DiStasio.
The Morris County Prosecutor's Office revealed DiStasio's name in an afternoon press release, but added it is not going to say much else about the incident for now - including the extent of the sergeant's injuries or the names of any other people involved. It said "the investigation remains ongoing."
DiStasio was struck by a vehicle at about 6:51 p.m. near 10 Howard Boulevard, just beyond the Mount Arlington-Roxbury border. He was "involved in the routine investigation of an unrelated traffic incident at the time he was struck," said the prosecutor's office, noting the sergeant was taken to Morristown Medical Center for treatment.
Mount Arlington Mayor Michael Stanzilis was quoted by the prosecutor's office as saying, "Officer DiStasio is a valued member of our department and our borough family. Please keep James in your thoughts and prayers at this time."
People in Mount Arlington knew the injured officer was DiStasio long before the prosecutor's office decided to release the name. A number of well-wishers on social media said they were praying for "Jimmy D," some doing so shortly after the incident.
The matter is being investigated by the Mount Arlington Police Department, the county Sheriff's Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit and the prosecutor's office Major Crimes Unit, according to the prosecutor's statement. It asked anyone with information about the matter to call the Major Crimes Unit at 973-285-6200.
Tuesday's incident was not the first time DiStasio was hurt while working a traffic matter, according to a published report. Four years ago, NJ Advance Media reported that a 19-year-old unlicensed driver attempted to flee a traffic stop and, in doing so, ran over the sergeant's right foot. The news report said DiStasio attempted to pursue the fleeing vehicle before going to a hospital, noting his foot was swollen and red but not seriously injured.
The vehicle was found shortly later in Roxbury and the driver was subsequently found in the Rockaway Townsquare Mall, said the report.