DRIVER CHARGED WITH DWI, FLEEING SCENE

The driver of an SUV that smacked head-on into a utility pole in Little Silver Friday evening has been charged with drunken driving and fleeing the scene, police Chief Dan Shaffery tells redbankgreen.

Thomas Crockett, 41, of Middletown was heading north on Branch Avenue at about 5:55 p.m. when his Chrysler Aspen veered across the center line and into a pole on the southbound side, near Fox Hill Drive, police allege.

Crockett, who was alone in the vehicle, left the scene on foot, Shaffery said. Five minutes later, a resident of nearby Salem Lane reported a man who seemed out of place talking on a cellphone outside her home. A Fair Haven police officer who had joined in a search for the missing SUV driver picked up Crockett, he said.

Police also heard from a witness who said the SUV had been traveling erratically shortly before the crash, Shaffery said.

Crockett was charged with drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident, reckless driving, abandonment of a motor vehicle and failure to maintain a lane. He was released without bail.

Officers Robert Chenoweth and Amanda Arnold investigated.

Crockett was treated and released for injuries at Riverview Medical Center, Shaffery said.

The accident briefly knocked out power to nearby homes and businesses, as well as the borough police station, he said.