YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An Old Tappan woman with a suspended license, no insurance and an expired registration was “severely intoxicated” when Fair Lawn police hemmed in her car, smashed the window and pulled her out following a hit-and-run crash on Route 208, authorities said.
The driver whose car was hit followed 44-year-old Ava Cifaldi as she continued on Route 208, then turned around and headed south on the highway before exiting at Fair Lawn Avenue around 2:30 this afternoon, police said.
Hearing the alert from Central Bergen Communications in neighboring Glen Rock, Fair Lawn Police Sgt. Lonnie Mergler ran to his cruiser.
“It was perfect timing,” Mergler told CLIFFVIEW PILOT yesterday. “As soon as I got onto Fair Lawn Avenue, her vehicle was right in front of me.” ( SEE: Fair Lawn police sergeant corners DWI hit-and-run driver ).
Mergler said he activated his overhead lights and got out, but Cifaldi swerved her 2011 Nissan Rogue around his cruiser, her car’s mirror whacking his elbow as she drove up on the sidewalk.
The sergeant said he got back into the car and chased Cifaldi two blocks to River Road, where she got stuck in traffic at a red light.
He said he maneuvered his cruiser in front of her car, stopping it and trapping her. Other officers arrived, and all ordered her out.
However, “she was just focused on getting out of there,” Mergler said.
Eventually, they had to smash the window and pull her out, he said.
Police said they found two bottles of vodka and beer inside the vehicle.
Cifaldi was taken to Bergen Regional Medical Center for detoxification while police processed charges of DWI, aggravated assault and eluding police. She was also being issued several summonses, including driving drunk while suspended.
No serious injuries were reported.