SPARTA, NJ- A Sparta man who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol was arrested Monday  morning after recklessly operating his motor vehicle on South Shore Trail.  He crashed into a parked pick-up truck and then fled the scene. 

The initial investigation by Officer Kurt Morris, Certified Accident Reconstructionist, finds 18-year-old Sparta resident, Raymond J. Farrell was alone operating a Nissan Altima west on South Shore Trail.

According to  the officer’s investigation and several adult eyewitnesses, Farrell was talking on his cell phone while operating his vehicle at a high rate of speed.  In doing so he passed a bus stop where children were present.  As the vehicle  entered into a turn before the parking lot of the Lady of the Lake Church, the speed caused the passenger side wheels of the car to lift off the roadway.  As the vehicle came out of the turn, the passenger side of the car slammed down causing both front and rear tires to flatten. 

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Farrell lost control of the vehicle, going into a partial spin, crossing over a solid yellow line, into the opposite lane of travel and across a grassy section entering into the parking lot of Our Lady of the Lake Church.  Farrell’s car crashed into the side of a 1994 Ford Ranger Pick-up Truck.  Farrell then drove his car away, fleeing the scene.  This all took place in a portion of the church parking lot that is also utilized by parents dropping their children off for school at Rev. George A. Brown Memorial School.

Farrell was stopped a short time later by Corporal Robert Fraser as he operated his badly damaged vehicle on North Shore Trail.  Farrell was placed under arrest a short time later after he failed a series of Field Sobriety Tests.  He was then transported to police headquarters for processing and breath testing.

After it was determined that Farrell had a blood alcohol concentration of more than twice the legal limit he was charged with DWI in a School Zone During School Hours, Reckless Driving, Operating an Unsafe Vehicle and Using a Cell Phone While Operating a Motor Vehicle.

Farrell has a scheduled First Appearance in Sparta Municipal Court on April 28 at 6:00 p.m. to answer to the charges.  Hen was released later in the day to a sober adult.  His car has been impounded.