Fairfield Officers Arrest Fleeing DUI Suspect After Route 46 Crash

Fairfield (NJ) The Fairfield Police Department announces the arrest of Jason S. Struss (43) of Oakland, N.J. for obstruction, resisting arrest, assault by auto and driving under the influence on July 26, 2019.

On July 25, 2019, at approximately 9:23 P.M., Fairfield police and fire departments and the West Essex First Aid Squad were all dispatched to the area of 333 Route 46 West on a report of a severe two car motor vehicle crash, with one vehicle allegedly flipping over. First responding officers immediately attended to a thirty-six year old female from Newark who was the operator of a 2008 Mazda. She was eventually transported to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson, N.J.

While this was occurring, other officers were advised by individuals who had stopped to assist the occupants, that the other vehicle, which was a 2019 Nissan apparently flipped over and eventually righted itself. The driver of this vehicle then allegedly took off his shirt and dropped it near the scene as he fled the scene on foot in a northerly direction prior to police arrival. Officers from Fairfield, West Caldwell and North Caldwell began searching the area for the suspect, who through investigation, was determined to be Struss. A K-9 unit from the Essex County Sheriff’s Department arrived on scene and attempted to track the suspect with negative results.

“There were strong indications that Struss was injured in the crash, however to what extent could not be determined” said Chief Anthony G. Manna who was at the scene and helping with the search. “That is why we continued to aggressively search and employed some special investigative techniques in order to try and find Struss to assure he was not dying somewhere” said the chief.

This investigation led officers to the area of 34 Alan Drive, a residential neighborhood approximately a quarter mile or so from the accident scene. At 11:41 P.M., Sergeant John McGrory found Struss secreted in some shrubbery along the side of the house. He was taken into custody without incident. It is alleged that, while searching the area before finding Struss’ hiding place, he knew he was close as he stated he could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage in the air.

The West Essex First Aid Squad responded to the scene and Struss was transported, under arrest, to Morristown Memorial Hospital for evaluation. Struss was later released from the hospital and transported to police headquarters for processing where he was charged with obstruction, assault by auto, resisting arrest by flight, driving while under the influence and a variety of other motor vehicle violations. Struss was then returned to Morristown Memorial Hospital by ambulance after the hospital requested he return for additional evaluation.

Sergeant Christopher Niemiec and Officer Daniel Moran investigated the case. It is alleged that Mazda was travelling west on Route 46 in the right lane in front of Struss’ Nissan which allegedly was travelling in the same direction behind her vehicle. It is alleged that Struss’ vehicle struck the left rear of the Mazda, which caused it to spin, strike a utility pole and come to rest on the lawn of 333 Route 46. It is alleged that Struss Nissan may have flipped as many as four times before it came to rest, right side up, near the driveway of 333 Route 46. “We are extremely thankful that no one was seriously hurt or killed in this crash” said the chief. He went on to commend the work of all of the responding emergency personnel in both the treatment of the injured and the apprehension of the suspect. Route 46 West was closed, with the assistance of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, for approximately three and a half hours in the area of the crash.

(It should be noted that the charges against Struss are merely allegations and that he is presumed innocent until he either pleads guilty or is found guilty in a court of law)

Authorized by: Chief Anthony G. Manna

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