Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Police Defends Traffic Stop Of Expectant Jewish Couple

A Lakewood man rushing his expecting wife to the hospital passed through Howell, NJ

The result: a speeding ticket.

The delay made for a close call.

The baby entered the world shortly after the couple arrived at Monmouth Medical Center, the man said.

The couple, unnamed in a statement by the police, was heading to the medical center in Long Branch at the direction of the woman’s doctor shortly before midnight on Nov. 14. Howell Patrolman Anthony Marotta stopped the 2010 Toyota Sienna they were in on Squankum Road, Route 547.

The story was first reported by the Lakewood Scoop, which ran a redacted picture of the traffic ticket, an anonymous statement from the Lakewood man and a photo of a his wife's hospital bracelet that shows the time and date as 12:35 a.m. November 15.

The Howell police issued a statement based on the department’s internal review which included an inspection of the video footage from the vehicle and body cameras.

The exchange between Marotta and the couple is in dispute.

After being told by the woman’s doctor they needed to get to the hospital quickly once labor began, the man drove at a normal speed until hitting Squankum Road, he said.

“My wife told me she is starting to feel it is getting closer to birth,” he wrote in the statement. “I became quite frantic, so I automatically picked up speed, without realizing I was going way over the speed limit.”

Marotta pulled the Sienna over at 11:57 p.m. He asked for documents and the man told him his wife was in “advanced labor,” according to the Howell police statement. Marotta explained to the driver that he was going nearly 80 mph - ticketed for 78 mph - in a 50-mph zone. He returned to his patrol car.

“This exchange lasted about 40 seconds,” the police statement reads.

Marotta returned in six minutes. Police said all went well.

“Both the operator of the vehicle, his pregnant wife and the officer were calm, respectful and courteous to one another,” the statement reads.

The expecting husband had a different view.

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