FAIRFIELD, NJ — The Fairfield Police Department charged two individuals with eluding police and other criminal and motor vehicle charges in the wake of two separate incidents.

The first incident took place on January 24, 2020. On that date, at approximately 1:41 AM, Officer James Ciampi was dispatched to the area of John Street to investigate a suspicious vehicle that was believed to have been involved in a motor vehicle burglary an hour earlier.

The resident told the officer that their Ring doorbell camera had captured a gray SUV stopping in front of their home. It is alleged that an African American male is seen exiting the SUV and begin pulling on door handles. It is at this time, while the officer was speaking with the residents that the same vehicle allegedly re-appeared and drove past them. Officer Ciampi entered his patrol car and began to follow the vehicle, which was now determined to be a stolen 2019 Gray Toyota Rav 4 that was allegedly carjacked in Bloomfield the previous day.

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At this time, other officers converged to assist Officer Ciampi. The officers attempted to stop the vehicle, at which time, the vehicle allegedly entered Route 80 East and began to accelerate and take evasive actions in an apparent attempt to elude the officers. After a brief time, the Fairfield officers terminated the pursuit. Follow-up investigations the next morning indicated that officers took eight motor vehicle burglary reports.

It is alleged that on February 6, 2020, Taron Drumgold (23) of Newark, New Jersey was arrested by the New Jersey State Police on an unrelated matter. A joint investigation conducted by the Bloomfield and Fairfield Police Departments allegedly tied Drumgold to being in possession of the stolen Toyota on the night of the eluding incident in Fairfield. He was charged with that crime and several motor vehicle violations. Drumgold is currently lodged in the Essex County Correctional Facility and has an initial appearance in the superior court in Newark, N.J. on July 28, 2020. This case was investigated by Detective Sergeant Jeffrey Didyk.

The second incident took place on July 3, 2020. On that date, at approximately 1:44 AM, officers were dispatched to a Glendale Lane residence to investigate a report of a motor vehicle theft that had just occurred. The vehicle stolen was reported as a 2014 white BMW wagon and that it was accompanied by a black Mercedes Benz.

While responding to the call, Officer Ryan Cleary allegedly observed these vehicles traveling on Sand Road towards Two Bridges Road. He then attempted to initiate a motor vehicle stop but both vehicles accelerated and failed to yield to the officer’s attempt to stop them. A pursuit was then initiated on Route 46 West. After assessing the pursuit conditions, the officer decided to terminate the pursuit for public safety reasons as it entered into Montville Township.

It is alleged that other police departments began to pursue the black Mercedes Benz and it was eventually stopped and the driver, identified as Nasir Darby-Berry (20) of Newark, N.J. was apprehended by New Jersey state troopers. The Mercedes Benz that he was operating was allegedly a stolen vehicle.

Fairfield police charged Darby-Berry with eluding police and receiving stolen property. He was lodged in the Essex County Correctional Facility pending a custody hearing.

“In both of these cases, our police officers properly took into consideration the need to apprehend the violators against the safety risk posed to the public in continuing with a protracted pursuit. They did an excellent job and the suspects were inevitably caught” said Chief Anthony G. Manna.

(It should be noted that the charges against both individuals are merely allegations and that they are presumed innocent until they either plead guilty or are found guilty in a court of law)