Man who crashed and jumped off Highway 37 bridge taken to hospital: PD

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ — A 19-year-old man was taken to hospital Sunday night after crashing into the J. Stanley Tunney Bridge on Route 37 and jumping into Barnegat Bay, authorities said.

The man, of Elmwood Park, was removed from Barnegat Bay by New Jersey State Marine Police at the end of a situation that began with a dispute in Seaside Heights, authorities said. The accident crippled the Tunney Bridge for more than an hour on Sunday evening.

Seaside Heights police attended Sheridan and Central Avenues around 8:20 p.m. Sunday in response to a call about a man approaching the caller to request a phone, Seaside Heights Detective Steve Korman said. .

The man, whom Seaside Heights officers had arrested earlier in the day for disorderly conduct, told officers he was lost and needed to go to the Flamingo Hotel, Korman said. Officers drove him there and the man had a fight with his girlfriend. He then decided to stay with friends at another hotel, Korman said.

The man began to gather his belongings into his car, a Fiat, but in doing so he drove into and out of the parking lot, hitting two vehicles in the process. He then headed west on Kearney Avenue and north on Central Avenue, Korman said,

Seaside Heights patrolman Chris Linnell saw the Fiat cross Route 35 North with no lights on as the man drove west on Harding Avenue, and Linnell made contact with the Fiat, which was stopped on the block 100 Harding Avenue, Korman said.

Linnell activated his lights and after talking to the man, he walked away from the officer, heading west on Harding, then turned north on southbound Highway 35, Korman said. .

At that time, Seaside Heights police notified police from nearby towns to search for the car, he said.

Korman said Seaside Heights police did not chase the car at any time because it posed a risk to public safety.

Shortly after, Seaside Heights police were notified the man had crashed into the westbound lanes of the Tunney Bridge, he said.

Toms River Police and NJ State Marine Police responded. The man was facing motor vehicle charges, Korman said.