Recorded radio talks and statements from police could help investigators reconstruct the department’s response to a multi-car crash this weekend involving North Bergen High School Vice-Principal Edward Somick, an officer on duty that night told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Somick, (l.), Sacco
Records show a trio of Patrol Division officers — including Jason Appello and Brian O’Neill — answered the 1:50 a.m. emergency call Saturday at 70th Street and Kennedy Boulevard.
They radioed desk Sgt. Arthur Dell on a recorded line and reported finding Somick outside his overturned Jeep. They also expressed concern that he might be intoxicated, more than one source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Soon after, Patrolman Frank Mena showed up. Mena, a member of the Traffic Division, was working DWI enforcement that night.
Records show that North Bergen EMS arrived within minutes of the smash-up but that there was no one there to treat.
UPDATE : Expensive video cameras that can pivot in any direction are stationed on traffic lights around the street corner where North Bergen High School Vice-Principal Edward Somick’s Jeep struck at least two cars and rolled over early Saturday — and neither of the cameras works. CLICK HERE TO READ
Mena said he gave Somick a ride home — and not to a hospital or police headquarters — in his township car.
(SEE : North Bergen police officer gave NBHS Vice-Principal Ed Somick ride home after crash )
“It was pretty cold out,” said Sgt. Thomas Ferrari, who relayed the information to CLIFFVIEW PILOT from Mena around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
According to Ferrari, Mena told him Somick had swerved “to avoid an animal” when his vehicle “struck a parked car.” The sergeant also said he didn’t know where the Jeep was taken after the crash.
The initial incident report entered into the North Bergen Police Department computer lists a three-vehicle accident, not two, according to a ranking officer who called it up on a computer screen at headquarters Saturday afternoon.
The officer on duty when the crash occurred said two other cars were involved. The officer also told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that Dell later grilled the first officers to arrive, as well as Mena, on the recorded line. Neither Dell nor Mena could be reached today.
“Officers on the scene and Sgt. Dell will tell the truth if questioned by investigators,” the officer told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
The crash follows a series of incidents involving the police and Somick, whose mother is North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco’s longtime girlfriend.
(SEE : Key figure emerges in case of disorderly school official linked to Sacco )
Both Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio and a spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department have said that they would investigate any suspicious incidents, but only if police rank-and-file come to them first.
DeFazio said a media report, no matter how detailed, isn’t reason enough for him to order an investigation.
Four years ago, Zulima Farber — then the state Attorney General — resigned her position after the Bergen Record reported that she had shown up at a Fairview traffic stop involving her boyfriend, who was allowed to drive his unregistered mini-van home after she was brought to the scene in a state vehicle.
Based solely on the newspaper’s reporting — which involved interviews with police and a review of records — then-Gov. Jon Corzine appointed a special prosecutor to investigate. Farber stepped down after he issued a scathing review, while the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing.
The lead reporter on the series of stories was Carolyn Salazar, who was later named Journalist of the Year by the New Jersey Press Association and now works for FOX News.
The editor on the project: the publisher/editor of CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM .
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