By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
A motorist crashed into the telephone pole and wires downed by former Fair Haven Fire Chief Shaun Foley in the November 22 Rumson wreck that led to his being charged with drunken driving, according to records obtained by redbankgreen.
Police reports on the accident also reveal that Foley tried to flee the scene in his heavily damaged fire department vehicle before it conked out just a block away, in front of Rumson’s Borough Hall.
As previously reported, 27-year-old Foley, who worked as a Rumson police dispatcher and part-time policeman, then took off on foot to the Oceanic Bridge, a mile away, where he jumped into the Navesink River, prompting a massive rescue effort involving helicopters and boats.
The 17 pages of reports, though, give the first official indication of the earliest stages of the drama that began unfolding shortly before 6p that Sunday evening.
In taking down a pole on East River Road, between Meadowbrook and Maplewood avenues, Foley knocked out electrical power to streetlights in the area, the reports say. That, in turn, caused an Ocean Township man, Robert Walsh, to smash his car into the downed utility pole. The report says Walsh told police he didn’t see the wreckage. He was uninjured.
According to a witness’ account in the report, Foley was traveling north when he struck the pole with the front passenger side of the 2006 white Chevrolet Suburban. He hen tried to drive away with its damaged, laboring motor before the vehicle came to stop 800 feet away, police say.
The initial crash was called in by a passing motorist. Calling in almost simultaneously was off-duty police Sergeant Peter Koenig, who lives nearby; he heard the crash, followed by the revving sound of an engine, he says.
According to Koenig’s written account, the vehicle that brought down the pole wasn’t at the scene when he arrived. By then, Walsh had already hit the downed pole.
Koenig says he found Foley’s vehicle, with its familiar fire department markings, in front of the town hall a block away. The steering-wheel airbag had deployed, and a wallet and cell phone were in the truck, but the driver was nowhere in sight.
That set off a search that included surrounding police and EMS crews. Meanwhile, Rumson officers secured the East River Road scene to prevent additional crashes.
According to information released earlier by police Chief Ricky Tobias, Foley had fled north on foot. He was spotted on the northern side of the Oceanic Bridge by Little Silver police officer Gregory Oliva, but ignored Oliva’s request that he get into the officer’s car. Instead, at 6:14, Foley plunged over the bridge’s western flank into the river, one of the reports says.
Emergency service personnel from across the region, including a dive team from Fair Haven and helicopters belonging to the Coast Guard, State Police and Monmouth County Mosquito Control Commission, were mustered to try to find and rescue Foley.
After nearly 45 minutes, at 6:56p, Foley was rescued from the water beneath the bridge on the Rumson side, put on a stretcher behind Salt Creek Grille and given medical attention.
Foley was read his Miranda rights in the ambulance by a Rumson officer, who rode with him in the Fair Haven Rescue Squad ambulance to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune. Enroute, Foley signed a consent form allowing two vials of blood to be drawn for alcohol content testing, according to the record.
Koenig said the blood sample was sent to the New Jersey State Police for testing, and results could take anywhere between a week to a month to return to the borough.
Foley, who was not seriously injured, was charged with DWI, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report and reckless driving. A municipal court trial on the charges will be held in a town other than Rumson, but no new venue had been settled on yesterday, Foley’s attorney, Mitchell Ansell said.
As reported yesterday by redbankgreen, Foley crashed another fire department vehicle into a utility pole in Fair Haven in March, 2008. There were no charges filed. According to today’s Asbury Park Press, the Chevy SUV was declared totaled by the borough’s insurance carrier, and borough officials conducted a review of policies covering the use of town-owned or insured vehicles.