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Cops: Drunk Man Nearly Ran Over Pedestrians, Police

Morristown resident charged with DWI, criminal attempt, assault by auto and resisting arrest.

A Morristown man allegedly under the influence of alcohol nearly ran over pedestrians and police before he was subdued when an officer punched him in the face, according to an arrest report.

Gabriel Hurtadagomez, 32, of Madison Avenue, was charged with driving while intoxicated, criminal attempt, assault by auto and resisting arrest on July 1.

Officers Anthony O'Brien and Joseph Heuneman were conducting foot patrols in the area of as bars began to clear out when O'Brien heard the sound of a car horn blasting for several seconds near the Green shortly before 2 a.m., according to his report.

When the officers went to investigate, they saw a number of pedestrians scatter as a car drove quickly toward them without slowing down, according to the report.

The vehicle slowed considerably as the two officers walked in front of the car's anticipated path, about 50 feet away, the report said.

The officers shined their flashlights toward the car in an attempt to make a traffic stop, the report said. O'Brien said in his report, however, the car's engine began to rev and started driving toward the two officers.

O'Brien put his hand up and began shouting for the car stop, but it kept moving, forcing the two officers to leap out from its path, according to the report. O'Brien noted only inches separated himself from the car, and he felt the wind of the car as it passed, the report said.

The car then came to a sudden halt about 20 feet away from where it had passed the officers, according to the report.

The two officers approached the vehicle, which had four occupants, including one whose head was hanging from the passenger-side window, just above a layer of vomit that covered the door, according to the report.

The driver, later identified as Hurtadagomez, dove down into his center console when he saw the officers approaching, prompting O'Brien to draw his gun and demand he put his hands up, according to the report. When the officer saw the driver was not reaching for a weapon, he put his gun away and told him he was under arrest, according to the report.

The vehicle was still in "drive," but, despite instructions to place it in "park," Hurtadagomez did not comply and the car was not put into "park" until officers were able to get the driver's side door open and park the vehicle themselves, according to the report.

Officers instructed Hurtadagomez to get out of the vehicle, but he then tried to wrap his arm around his seatbelt harness and pressed both feet on the gas and brake, according to the report. He then leaned forward for the transmission shifter, prompting O'Brien to punch him in the face, according to the report, as the officer feared the vehicle, if put in "drive," could injure or kill surrounding officers, the other passengers or pedestrians.

The strike from O'Brien's fist caused Hurtadagomez to reach for his face, allowing officers to pull him from the vehicle and place him in handcuffs, according to the report.

The three passengers were allowed to leave, according to the report. Hurtadagomez was transported to for treatment. En route, when asked, he told officers he had drank one beer at , according to the report.

After being released from the hospital, Hurtadagomez was processed and transported to the Morris County Correctional Facility in lieu of $7,500 bail.

For questions about this post, email john.dunphy@patch.com. 

CG July 12, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Speedwell has to go....
John Dunphy July 12, 2012 at 01:07 AM
What exactly does Speedwell have to do with this story, Al? It's not even mentioned.
simone gesualdo July 12, 2012 at 10:47 AM
I agree with you John. I don't understand the speedwell comment either. The suspect lives on Madison ave.
Moira July 12, 2012 at 12:23 PM
I think AL meant that Sona 13 has to go.
BiggDogg July 12, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I believe Al was trying to make a biased assumption that since the man has a Spanish last name he must immediately be associated with Speedwell. You know what the saying is when you assume? But back to the original story, O'brien should have shot him in the face, probably saving the life of some pedestrian in the future. But that's just me "assuming" this guy would be a repeat drunk driver.......

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