A Jersey City police officer who lives in Middletown, already facing DUI charges arising from a car crash on the Pulaski Skyway, surrendered to police this morning in connection with the death of 2 1/2-year-old boy as result of the wreck.


From an Associated Press dispatch posted at the Star-Ledger online:

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A Jersey City police officer, charged last week with driving drunk after an off-duty crash, surrendered Monday to face an aggravated manslaughter charge following the death of a toddler who was in the other vehicle.

Officer Kevin Freibott and his lawyer arrived shortly before 9 a.m. at the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Prosecutor Edward J. DeFazio said.

The manslaughter charge, which carries up to 30 years in prison, was filed Sunday, just hours after 2-year-old Juan Carlos Zelaya died from injuries suffered in the crash last Tuesday. The child’s mother, Ruth Zelaya, 37, remained in critical condition at Jersey City Medical Center.

Police had attempted to arrest Freibott Sunday, but his whereabouts was not immediately known.

The story gives Freibott’s hometown as Middletown, though an earlier report from Star-Ledger said he lived in Red Bank.

Monmouth County property records show a Kevin Freibott as the owner of a home at 36 Delaware Avenue in Middletown. One of three streets in Middletown bearing that name is in the Fairview section, which is served by the Red Bank Post Office.

An earlier report by the Star-Ledger said that Freibott is a second cousin of Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, and that Freibott…

transferred to the Jersey City Police Department two years ago after nine years with the Middletown police. He has had a history of motor vehicle infractions, authorities said, including charges for DWI in 1988 and driving with an expired license in 2001.

An article in the Nov. 13, 2002 Asbury Park Press (archived, accessible via the Red Bank Public Library database), reported that Freibott had been involved in two accidents in 2001, once while on duty, and that he had been fired by township officials for giving police inaccurate information regarding his license, which had been suspended. A Merit System Board ruling later recommended that Freibott be suspended for six months without pay and reinstated.

As recently as July, 2005, Freibott was working as a patrolman in the township, according to a Press report of an arrest he made in an attempted strong-arm robbery at a drugstore that month.

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