SOUTH BRUNSWICK – A suspect who allegedly dragged a police officer by his tie when trying to flee in his vehicle is wanted by law enforcement officers in South Brunswick.
The rather uncommon situation happened Tuesday afternoon in South Brunswick after a motorist called police to report a 2016 grey Kia Sorrento allegedly driving erratically on Route 32 east near the Route 535 intersection, according to police.
South Brunswick Detectives Eric Tighelaar and Monica Posteraro found the Sorrento and began a motor vehicle stop. Tighelaar approached the vehicle and started speaking with the driver, Alan Fratello Jr., 46, of Monmouth Junction, and the passenger Jaqueline Smith, 41, of Monmouth Junction.
During that interaction, police allege Fratello “suddenly grabbed Detective Tighelaar’s tie and began driving away, forcing Detective Tighelaar to run alongside the vehicle.”
The detective was able to break free from Fratello’s grasp, and the suspect then drove his vehicle over the center median and headed toward Route 130, police said.
“It only takes a split second for a routine interaction to turn into a potential deadly situation,” said South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hauducka in a statement released about the incident. “All the individuals involved are lucky that this did not end in tragedy.”
Police said Fratello and Smith were already wanted by other law enforcement agencies for “unrelated offenses.” Fratello is reported to have ties to Edison and Toms River.
Police have charged Fratello with aggravated assault, aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and eluding.
Police are asking that anyone with information related to the incident to call the South Brunswick Department at 732-329-4646.