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Little Falls Resident Arrested for Driving While Intoxicated

Fairfield (NJ) – The Fairfield Police Department announces the arrest of Joseph Panico (27), of Little Falls, N.J. for driving while intoxicated on April 12, 2024.  On that date at approximately 11:46 pm, Officer Ryan Cleary was on patrol on Passaic Avenue when he allegedly observed a gray 2013 Ford Escape that was unable to maintain its lane, and allegedly almost strike a vehicle in the adjacent lane.  Officer Cleary conducted a motor vehicle stop and spoke to Panico, the driver and only occupant.


It is alleged the officer detected a strong smell of burnt marijuana while speaking with Panico.  It is further alleged Panico admitted to smoking marijuana and consuming alcohol prior to driving.  Officer Cleary observed Panico’s eyes to be bloodshot and watery and his movements were exaggerated.  It is further alleged that after an extended period of time, Panico could only provide the officer with an insurance card.  


Field sobriety testing was conducted and Panico was subsequently placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated.  His vehicle was impounded per New Jersey law.  He was transported to police headquarters where breath testing was conducted.  It is alleged that Panico’s blood alcohol content was above the legal limit.  He was subsequently charged with driving while intoxicated, having unsealed cannabis in the vehicle, and several motor vehicle violations.


Panico was later released pending an initial court appearance on May 2, 2024 at the Fairfield Municipal Court.



(Charges are merely allegations until the defendant is proven guilty or pleads guilty in a court of law).


Issued by: Officer Stacy Chiarolanza (PIO)

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