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Wyckoff-Franklin Lakes Daily Voice serves Franklin Lakes, Oakland & Wyckoff

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Wyckoff PD: Stoned Driver Bolts Across Rt 208, Found In Girlfriend's Trunk

Wyckoff police
Wyckoff police Photo Credit: COURTESY: Wyckoff PD

A stoned driver stopped for driving erratically suddenly dashed across both lanes of Route 208 and was later picked up by his girlfriend, said Wyckoff police who found him hiding in her trunk.

Officer Michael Flim stopped a black Trailblazer with New York license plates on the southbound side of the highway after the driver “appeared to have difficulty keeping the vehicle within its lane of travel,” Lt. Joseph Soto.

The driver, 34-year-old Gibran Freytes Bautista of Philadelphia, admitted smoking pot before getting behind the wheel, prompting a search of the SUV, Soto said.

As Flim looked through the vehicle, Sgt. Michael DeMaio and Officer Kyle Ferreira continued to speak with Bautista – who suddenly took off on foot, the lieutenant said.

DeMaio chased Bautista but lost him in a residential area, he said.

A perimeter was set up and a Bergen County sheriff’s K9 brought in. Midland Park police also joined the search.

Soon after, DeMaio spotted a car – also with New York plates – headed aimlessly down a street that dead-ends just before the highway.

Suspecting that the fleeing suspect may have called a friend to pick him up, DeMaio stopped the vehicle.

Behind the wheel was Bautista’s girlfriend, who had a young child in the car with her -- and told the officers they could find her boyfriend in the trunk, Soto said.

Bautista struggled, but police got him out and into handcuffs, he said.

They charged him with obstruction, two counts of resisting arrest and possession of pot, as well as paraphernalia. They also issued him several summonses before releasing him pending a hearing.

The number of charges increased – to criminal mischief, burglary and tampering with evidence -- when Bautista damaged his Trailblazer, which police had impounded for further investigation, the lieutenant said.

Police also processed his girlfriend, 31-year-old Jennifer B. Swanda of Bay Shore, Long Island, on charges of hindering apprehension by concealing another, hindering apprehension by providing transportation and child endangerment. She, too, was released pending a hearing.

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