A Lakewood driver involved in a crash in Jackson may have faked his unconsciousness, Jackson Police said today. At about 11:45 a.m. on Friday, Jackson Police Officers responded to East Veteran’s Highway in the area of Pitney Lane on the report of a motor vehicle crash involving a truck which had struck a utility pole.
Responding officers discovered a 1998 Ford F-150 which had struck the pole and was occupied by only one person, the driver. The driver was checked by personnel from the Whitesville Fire Department, who advised officers that he had been conscious and responsive and had identified himself. Personnel from Quality First Aid arrived on scene to treat the driver, who had sustained a laceration above his right eye and shortly thereafter, the driver became unresponsive and appeared to lose consciousness. Medical personnel requested a medivac helicopter for transport and the driver was flown to Capital Regional Health Center for treatment.
Medical personnel later advised officers that after being removed from the crash scene, the driver once again became alert and it had appeared that he had been feigning unconsciousness to avoid being arrested. At that time, the driver identified himself by a different name than he had originally.
Police Officer Joseph Candido responded to the hospital and was able to identify the driver by his true name and it was determined that the driver did not have a valid drivers license. Officers were also unable to determine if the driver was a legal resident of the country. A complaint warrant was then signed against the driver, charging him with Hindering Apprehension for providing false information to a law enforcement officer.
As a result, police arrested Flavio Ortiz, age 23, with a last known address of Lakewood. He was charged with Hindering Apprehension and bail was set at $35,000.00. As per guidelines, Immigration Services were advised of the arrest and they placed a detainer on Mr. Ortiz so that agency could investigate further. Mr. Ortiz was also issued summons for being an Unlicensed Driver, Failure to Maintain Lane and Failure to Wear a Seatbelt.
Through further investigation, the owner of the Ford, who was identified as Jose Cervantes of Lakewood, was issued a summons for Allowing an Unlicensed Driver to use his vehicle.
Jackson Police Officers were assigned to respond to the hospital to maintain custody of Mr. Ortiz until he was released. On Sunday, January 5th, Mr. Ortiz was released from the hospital and he was transported to police headquarters for processing, and was then transported to the Ocean County Jail.
The investigating officers were Police Officers Joseph Candido, Trevor Crowley, and George Vidalis. [TLS]