Drunk drivers nearly hit a West Caldwell Police patrolman Wednesday after causing a multi-vehicle crash involving the patrolman's cruiser, according to authorities.
West Caldwell Patrolman Brett Keepers parked his cruiser near the intersection of Bloomfield and Johnson avenues around 8:48 p.m. that evening, according to police. Keepers was there to remove a deer that was struck by a vehicle and lying deceased in the roadway, according to police.
Keepers turned on his emergency lights and got out of his cruiser. At that time, 41-year-old Luis Lliguicota, of West Orange, pulled up behind Keepers’ cruiser in a pick-up truck. Keepers ordered Lliguicota to remain parked there until he could remove the deer from the roadway, according to police.
As Keepers was retrieving gloves from the cruiser’s trunk, 40-year-old Jose Huerta-Inga crashed the Honda mini-van he was driving into the back of Lliguicota’s pick-up truck, which caused the truck to then crash into Keeper’s police cruiser, according to police.
Keepers was nearly hit in the crash but walked away uninjured, according to police.
Both Lliguicota and Huerta-Inga, of West Orange, were found to be driving under the influence of alcohol, according to police. The two men were arrested and transported to police headquarters.
Further investigation found that both Lliguicota and Huerta-Inga were friends and were both coming from the same party in Fairfield, according to police.
Lliguicota was charged with driving while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with no seat belt; Huerta-Inga was charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving, according to police.
Police released both men and the two are awaiting their court appearances, according to police.