A Toms River police officer was injured after a woman who was a passenger in a car involved in an accident fled the scene, leading police on a foot pursuit through a wooded area, a river and mashland.
The incident began at about 1:45 p.m. Friday, when a 2008 Chevy Malibu driven by Daniel Menchise, 62, crashed into the front of the Shop Rite supermarket located on Route 37 West. Menchise, of Carlisle Road in Berkeley, had a medical boot on his right foot that caused him to have difficulties operating his car, police said in a statement. As he approached the building he lost control and rode over the curb ultimately hitting the cement support column of the building.
His female passenger jumped out of the car and ran away prior to police arrival, according to police spokesman Ralph Stocco, but was spotted at about 2:30 p.m. by Officer Ryan Fitzgerald, who saw the woman walking on Lakehurst Road just west of the Garden State Parkway.
As he approached her, she fled on foot, Stocco said. The officer gave chase and the two went tumbling down a steep embankment together behind 301 Lakehurst Road. Fitzgerald landed on a sharp object causing a deep laceration that required in excess of 25 stitches, according to a police report.
The woman then jumped into the water near the Parkway and continued to flee by swimming in the river and running through a swampy area, Stocco said.
At 4 p.m. she was taken into custody when officers and fire personnel reached her in a rescue boat.
Assistance was provided by the Toms River Volunteer Fire Departments Water Rescue Unit and other agencies.
The woman, later identified as Loraine Niocolosi, 36 of Chambers Bridge Road in Brick, was charged with obstructing the administration of law. She was released pending a future court date, but she may ultimately face additional charges.
“She offered no explanation as to why she fled the scene of the initial crash,” Stocco said.
Menchise, the driver, was charged with careless operation of a motor vehicle.