SPARTA, NJ – A Newton man driving drunk with is infant child in the back seat is facing charges after a hit and run accident on Route 15. On March 10, around 7:05 p.m. Sparta Cpl. Smith went to Limecrest Road to investigate the accident, police report.
The officer was met by the driver of one of the vehicles involved. That driver said he was on Route 15 South when a VW Tiguan, driven by Christopher Ray, 33, turned left right in front of his pickup truck, from the northbound left turn lane. The pickup truck driver told Smith he had to swerve into the northbound lane to avoid broadsiding the VW Tiguan, police report.
As he swerved the pickup truck driver scraped the back end of the VW Tiguan but Ray did not stop. He said Ray continued to turn onto Houses Corner Road. The pickup driver followed Ray and finally got him to stop, about a mile from the initial accident, police say.
According to police, the pick up driver told the officer that Ray had offered him cash to avoid calling the police.
When Smith went to talk with Ray, the officer saw a baby crying in the back seat on the passenger side. Smith also smelled alcohol and saw Ray’s eyes were bloodshot. Ray’s speech was slurred. Cpl. Grauerholz arrived to watch the baby as Smith was asked to get out of the car, police report.
The officers asked Ray to call someone to pick up the baby, his 12 month old daughter. The baby’s mother arrived and took the child. The officer told Ray he was going to administer field sobriety tests but Ray said he had a medical condition and asked for an ambulance, police report.
Ray was taken to Newton Medical Center where he was treated and released several hours later. Smith took Ray into custody and brought him to Sparta Police Department Headquarters for processing, police say.
Ray was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, contempt of court, driving while intoxicated with a minor as a passenger, refusal to consent to a breath test, DWI in a school zone, reckless driving, failure to report accident, leaving the scene of accident and failure to yield right of way.
Ray was given a court date and transported to Keogh Dwyer Correctional Facility to await his court date.
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