Statement From Howell Police On Recent Traffic Stop

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The Howell Police Department released the following statement to TLS regarding the recent incident.

“An internal review was conducted, including a review of video from the vehicle and body worn camera. The civilians’ names have been left out to protect their privacy.

On November 14, 2017 at 11:57pm, Howell Police Department Patrolman Anthony Marotta #179, conducted a motor vehicle stop on a 2010 Toyota Sienna on Route 547 (Squankum Rd.) between Maxim Rd. and Old Tavern Rd. for speeding (78mph in a 50mph zone).

Ptl. Marotta approaches the driver and requests driving credentials as the operator explains that his wife, who is in the passenger seat, is in “advanced labor”. Upon receiving the documents the operator explains that the doctor told them to go to the hospital. Ptl. Marotta explains that he was stopped for doing “almost 80 in a 50”. This exchange lasted about forty seconds.

Cpl. Marotta returns to his vehicle, fills out a summons for speeding and returns to the operator’s vehicle within six minutes of the initial conversation. As Ptl. Marotta approaches the operator he asks him if they would like an ambulance to respond to the scene. The operator and passenger decline and ask for a police escort, which the officer properly declines as that would be a violation of departmental policy. He asks the occupants again if they want an ambulance, to which the female passenger in labor responds, “No I do not want an ambulance”. The officer responds, “Are you sure?” and she replies “Yes”. Ptl. Marotta again offers assistance stating, “I can call them and they can at least follow you or take you up there”. The female then calmly asks the officer if they can “just go” to which the officer responds “Ok” and gives the operator instructions on calling the court regarding the summons. He also cautions the operator on speeding on the roadway adding to the risk of getting in an accident and not getting to the hospital especially, “tonight there’s a lot of deer out”. Ptl. Marotta insists on calling an ambulance but they decline again. (Moderated due to sensitivity.) The operator, not the officer, then prolongs the stop asking who he can call to “explain the situation” and address the ticket despite reports to the contrary. The entire stop from start-to-finish took 9 minutes 29 seconds.

The interaction during the stop was polite and respectful. Both the operator of the vehicle, his pregnant wife and the officer were calm, respectful and courteous to one another. We certainly understand how stressful the moments leading up to birth can be, especially on a woman, and we commend them for their respectful demeanor under the circumstances. However, the officer acted appropriately and any suggestion that the officer’s conduct was improper, unprofessional or inhumane simply contradicts the video evidence.

We are happy to hear the occupants arrived safely at the hospital and had a successful delivery. We wish them the best.”

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)




11 COMMENTS

  1. “The operator, not the officer, then prolongs the stop asking who he can call to “explain the situation” and address the ticket despite reports to the contrary”. I’m sorry but there is something VERY wrong here! This is the 1st time in the statement where it talks about ANYONE “prolonging” the stop! What about the five, yes FIVE times the cop asked the wife if she needs an ambulance?? This whole thing is wrong! The cop would’ve had NOTHING to lose if he had let them go from the start! A cop does not get fired for letting someone off the hook and ESPECIALLY in these circumstances!

  2. Where’s Dov Hikind when you need him? He is an expert in dealing with these issues. Oh, it wasn’t a NY resident so I guess he won’t get involved.

    While I do not believe any person (Jewish or gentile) should be issued a ticket in this situation, the officer was not wrong for stopping the car. I have been in this situation before (wife in labor and diving her to the hospital).

    Let the operator request the same material that was reviewed by the HPD and present that as his defense to the ticket. I don’t know about NJ but NY allows a “guilty with an explanation” plea and then it is up to the ALJ to make the decision.

  3. To the brilliant people at Howell PD who gave this as their “explanation”,

    Is this seriously supposed to make us feel better? Serve as an “explanation ” for you guys?! I can tell you that my wife has Thank G-D given birth to a few healthy children. One she was induced. The others – one she was IN THE HOSPITAL BUILDING- from through the front door through birth UNDER 12 MINUTES. Another one she couldn’t make it upstairs, the doctor hadn’t even made it to the hospital so she basically delivered herself in the ER. With our last one, we already had proper education on how her body works, we ignored all the typical rules on when to go in, we went to the hospital very early (in fact they wanted to send us home but by the time they went about their tests etc she was ready to deliver) she was in the hospital for a whopping 2 hours or so.

    So to you lovely Howell officers – how in heavens name do you explain holding up a woman in labor for SIX MINUTES and you try to make it like 6 minutes is nothing. If it had been my wife in that car, it would’ve meant her delivering in the car instead of in the ER!

    I lived in Lakewood for 15 years, it’s well known what Howell officers are all about, at least many of them. And I’m not upset at you guys over a ticket etc- I never got pulled over by a Howell cop because I don’t speed. In fact in those 15 years I believe I was only pulled over once for speeding- by a Jackson officer – but Howell PD earned themselves a really sweet reputation and this is just another reminder of that. Sorry, your explanation is a flat out failure. In fact, it stinks. It’s pretty sad considering you guys should understand a little more about medical emergencies. Or do you “not deal with those things”?

  4. Here is what was posted on the other story…from a police officer written a few years ago.

    Here is a response by a police officer to the question “Can someone driving a woman in labor be issued a ticket for speeding?”

    Yes we can.

    There are a few factors to consider:
    Letting you go to continue driving in an unsafe manner (i.e., your speeding) is not good for anyone; not you, the mother, the baby, or all the other mothers and babies out there using the same roads.
    Just telling you to “FOLLOW ME!!!” as I drive lights and sirens through red lights and busy intersections is not much safer. Hell, it’s dangerous enough just for me to do it, and I have been trained to do it, and have the equipment to do it — you have neither.

    Add to that the fact you’re jacked up on adrenaline. Your chances of being involved in a serious traffic crash are pretty high. And then it would be my fault. And this does not even consider whether my department policy forbids emergency escorts (which it does).
    The mother/baby team could encounter medical problems, and though I have delivered babies before, it was not by choice. We need to get medical personnel involved sooner rather than later.

    So, considering all the above, my advice would be to stop. I will call for an ambulance on my radio, and they will arrive very quickly. I know it doesn’t seem like they will, but they do. They have lights and sirens too. Plus, they deliver babies on purpose. Once they arrive, they can transfer your wife to the ambulance and safely transport her and you to the hospital.

    By doing this, I can protect you, your wife and child, and everyone else on the road. Everybody wins.

    Now if you are within a stone’s throw of the hospital when I stop you, well … we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

    In any case, you won’t be getting a ticket from me.

  5. Why not try the following.
    Cop: you were speeding, license and registration pls
    Motorist: my wife is in labor and we are on the way to the hospital
    Cop: Would you like me to call an ambulance?
    Motorist: no
    Cop: what hospital are you going to. You can leave and I will find you at the hospital and return your license and registration with a ticket. And please don’t break any traffic laws
    that interaction will take about a minute or two at maximum

  6. Why did the driver lie to the media about what happened? Remember…cop cams keep civilians honest, too.

    I agree that he should have offered to call an ambulance as soon as she said she was in labor; if something went wrong, that would have been brought up in a lawsuit.

  7. Doing 80 in a 50 when it’s the height of deer season is like playing Russian Roulette. Understandably you want to get to the hospital for delivery, but I would hope you’d all want to get there in one piece. To criticize the officer, and then lie about the ordeal, well, that’s just ingratious. But, I am guessing the video tape of the lying may be a bit of problem for them in the future.

  8. There are many such incidents that have happened all across the country in the last few years.
    In 2012, Dana Reiner was in labor and her husband, James Reiner, was doing his best to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible. Along the way they passed two police officers who pulled them over, although James Reiner insists they were not speeding. Dana was in late labor and the video shows they drove 1.1 miles before finally pulling over. James’ window was broken on his older car and he opened the door to tell the officer his wife was in labor. He was promptly forced to the ground at gunpoint, handcuffed faced down on the ground and left there for seven minutes while he and his wife pleaded with the officers, who eventually called for an ambulance which arrived at the hospital 3 minutes before the baby was born:
    A U.S. District magistrate judge ruled in July 2014 that while there is no clearly established legal right to be present at the birth of one’s child, Dandurand and Thomas violated the Reiners’ constitutional rights when they continued to detain the couple after learning Dana was in labor.
    Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry wrote…
    “The court does not think a reasonable officer, after realizing (as Officers Dandurand and Thomas did soon after handcuffing James) that plaintiffs were en route to the hospital to have their baby, would have continued to detain them, much less have kept James under arrest and taken him to jail for the night. To the contrary: such conduct, at that point, violates the clearly established guarantees of the Fourth Amendment,”
    What is important here is that in court the delay was recognized as a mistake on the part of those officers.
    Nevertheless, even in that( much worse) case (which anyone can easily research) the cops involved were not dismissed and are still on active duty. So unless the department’s are willing to take an honest look at themselves, which doesn’t seem the case here either, don’t expect any repercussions.