Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher, Police Chief Mitchell Little, and the entire Council recently awarded scholarships for seven local high school students. On April 26th, at a public council meeting, the two men handed out the awards to the graduating seniors in amounts ranging from $500 to $1,500 each. Many of the students participated in the Toms River Schools TEAM program. TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieves More. It is a school sponsored civic and service organization.
The money was raised through the efforts of the annual Jingle Bell Run, a 5-K charity race that is held each December. This past year saw over 600 race participants. The race is coordinated by former Toms River Police Lieutenant James Everett for the benefit of the Toms River Police Foundation. The foundation was set up to aid police officers and their families as well as to contribute to programs for local youth. The foundation also makes funding available to eligible scholarship applicants. Additionally, a $1,500 donation was made to the TEAM organization and $250 to the Ocean County Library.
This year’s TEAM recipients are:
Megan Laggner, $500, High School South
Misty Patel, $500, High School East
Vincent Tran, $500, High School North
Michelle Gao, $500, High School North
The Mark Catalano Scholarship is in remembrance of a former Toms River Police Detective and avid triathlete who passed away at the age of 54 while training for a competition. This year’s Detective Mark Catalano Memorial Scholarship Award recipients are:
Cereta Dellago, $1,500, High School East
Caitlin Maire, $1,500, High School East
Hunter Petrick, $1,500, High School North
Back row from left to right are Hunter Petrick, Megan Laggner, Vincent Tran, Caitlin Maire
Front row from left to right are Misty Patel, Michelle Gao, Cereta Dellago
Police Chief Mitchell Litte and retired Lt. Jim Everett recently delivered a check for $2,000 to the Chariot Riders of Manchester New Jersey. This donation was as a result of funds raised at last year’s Jingle Bell Run. Chariot Riders provides therapeutic equine programs for persons with disabilities.
TOMS RIVER: By Jean Mikle, Asbury Park Press– William Copes received a proclamation from the mayor and Township Council and a glass statue from Police Chief Mitchell Little for his heroic actions in saving a baby from a car crash last month, but there was something else he wanted more than anything Tuesday night.
“Can I hold her? Is that allowed?” Copes, of Lakewood, asked the baby’s father, David Eisdorfer.
“Of course,” Eisdorfer said. In seconds, the six-month-old girl was in Copes’ arms, smiling and holding her rescuer’s arm while Copes and her father posed for photographs.
Eisdorfer’s wife — and Sussie’s mother — 28-year-old Leah Eisdorfer, was killed in the horrific March 9 crash on New Hampshire Avenue. Copes, 51, squeezed inside the smoking, badly battered minivan to rescue the baby girl, who was still strapped in her overturned car seat.
Using a utility knife passed to him by another man at the accident scene, Copes freed Sussie from the seats safety restraints and pulled her out of the wreckage.
“When I got to the scene he actually had cuts all over his arms from crawling into the car,” Chief Little said.
Leah Eisdorfer had been driving south on New Hampshire near North Maple Avenue when the minivan she was driving suddenly crossed the center line, left the roadway, hit several trees and came to rest on its side in a water retention basin.
Copes and his grown daughter, who was following behind him in her own vehicle, were returning home from a Toms River auto dealership when he heard the loud boom as the minivan crashed. Copes turned his car around and ran down the berm to reach the minivan, and the trapped baby.
The Eisdorfers and their three children had moved to Toms River’s North Dover section only a few weeks before the crash that took Leah Eisdorfer’s life. Police are still investigating the accident.
David Eisdorfer said the baby’s miraculous survival is helping him cope with his wife’s death.
Lakewood resident William Copes and six-month-old Sussie Eisdorfer, of Toms River. (Photo: Jean Mikle)
“God showed me how much he loves me,” Eisdorfer said. “He took away something so important, but he left behind something else important, too.”
Sussie suffered some cuts and bruises but was not seriously injured in the crash.
After Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher and council members presented Copes with his proclamation, Eisdorfer read from a card that he gave to his daughter’s rescuer.
“Whoever saves a life, it’s as if he saved an entire world,” Eisdorfer read, quoting a passage from the Talmud. He hugged Copes as the crowd in the meeting room gave him a standing ovation.
“I would just hope, you know, if anybody else came into you know, a situation like that, they would do the same thing, you know, to help another human being,” Copes said.
Jean Mikle: (732) 643-4050, email@example.com
In honor of National Telecommunicators Week we want to honor and recognize all of our police dispatchers. They are the unsung heroes of the law enforcement community. They are the lifeline between us and the citizens we protect. Please take a minute to read the Dispatchers Poem
I Take A Breath As I Sit Down,
God Give Me Strength To Make This Round So Many Lives, I Hold In Hand,
So Many People With Demands.
My First Call, A Child Is Screaming,
Daddy’s Beating Mom And She’s Not Breathing.
It’s Hard To Deal With And Stay Calm, The Child Yells, “Dad’s Got A
I Have To Take Control And Say,
Please Slow Down They’re On Their Way As I Dispatch To My Deputies,
“10-33, There Are Weapons”
Ten Thousand Things Rush Through My Head, God I Pray She’s Not Dead.
Stay On The Phone And Talk To Me,
As I Rise To My Feet.
The Cops Are Here The Child Is Saying, Stay On The Line As I Start
“Be Advised He Has A Gun,
And He Also Has His Son.”
Now I Have An Open Line,
Just A Dispatcher In The Blind
“Dispatch,” I Heard Him Say,
“His Name Is Teddy And He’s Okay.”
They Clear The Scene From The Call,
Not One Deputy Had To Fall.
I Take A Breath As I Sit Down,
Thank You God, We Made That Round.
I’m Just A Dispatcher, Can’t You See
Just A Lifeline Between You And Me.
The position for Part Time – Seasonal Crossing Guard is now available in the Police Department. This position will be utilized during the summer beach season. Please visit the Toms River Township website and click on the JOB POSTINGS link at the top of the page.
Chief Mitchell Little is proud to announce that he will be conducting our second annual Toms River Police Youth Camp. The camp will be held from July 11 to July 15th from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm. This event is a way for us to give back to the community and give the children of Toms River an inside look at law enforcement. Eligible participants must be Toms River Residents and enrolled in current grades 6, 7, and 8. They will get to ride in police cars, utilize specialized police equipment, learn self-defense tactics, and physical agility. They will also have exposure to the motorcycle unit, EMS Ambulance, SWAT team, fire suppression vehicles, obstacle course as well as a field trip to the Ortley Beach Lifeguard station.
The camp is free however each participant must provide their own lunch, drinks, and appropriate clothing for the week. (Shorts and white tee shirt).
The selection process will be based on teacher recommendations and an essay written by the campers. The application deadline is May 1, 2016. Applications can be picked up at the front desk of Police Headquarters.
Please direct all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org Phone inquiries will not be returned.
Three-Day, Route 166 Traffic Shift Expected
By Catherine Galioto
DOT Seal Motorists on Route 166-Main Street in Toms River should expect traffic delays for approximately three days starting March 28, for work that will help the state roads department eventually widen Route 166.
The state Department of Transportation announced a traffic shift for the area of Colfax Street to Old Freehold Road of Route 166, milepost 1.63 to 2.35. That area includes the Route 37 intersection.
DOT contractor New Prince Concrete will shift traffic on the roadway to permit drainage work on the southbound side.
As a result, southbound traffic will be shifted to the northbound side of Route 166, creating one lane of traffic in each direction. DOT Spokesperson Kevin Israel said the temporary lane shift should last approximately three days.
The project will include drainage improvements, utility work, and milling and paving to permit widening of this portion of Route 166.
The state’s future plan for the Routes 37 and 166 intersection eventually call for a concrete barrier separating opposing traffic on the north side of the intersection, a traffic light at Highland Parkway, and a revamped ramp for vehicles traveling from Route 166 north to Route 37 eastbound. The ramp would connect farther south on Route 166 than the current one, according to state plans.
The stretch has become notorious for accidents and traffic. At the traffic light of Old Freehold Road and Route 166, more than 60 car crashes required police response from 2013-15.
The work at the end of March is for the southbound lanes. The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors, officials said. Blinking message boards were installed recently on the Garden State Parkway and Route 37 to notify motorists of the scheduled, temporary traffic shift.
Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website 511nj.org for real-time travel information.
Chief Little announced today that Toms River will be participating in the March 2016 Street Smart NJ pedestrian safety education campaign aimed at reducing pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes in New Jersey.
The Street Smart NJ campaign is a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations. Local police will be enforcing pedestrian laws in Toms River and working with several partners to educate motorists and pedestrians throughout the month of March.
The campaign comes at a significant time. New Jersey is ranked 6th in the nation in pedestrian fatalities, according to 2014 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The federal government has designated New Jersey a “focus” state – placing an extra emphasis on aiding the state in combating its higher-than-average pedestrian fatality rate and providing funding for this campaign.
During the month of March you will see street signs, posters, tip cards and other educational materials throughout the community. Our campaign and its partners will also be sending e-blasts in an effort to raise additional awareness about our pedestrian safety efforts this month. Street Teams – groups of professionals and volunteers – will be out in Toms River distributing safety tips at busy intersections.
“We’ll be interacting with motorists to make sure they know and obey the law and stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk,” said Safety Officer Steve Schwartz “We’ll also be reminding pedestrians to use crosswalks and cross at intersections and not jaywalk.”
Officers will also address speeding and distracted driving and walking, which often contribute to crashes involving pedestrians.
Pedestrian safety is an ongoing challenge in New Jersey. In 2014, 170 pedestrians died as a result of pedestrian-vehicle crashes, according to the most recent data available from the New Jersey State Police. From 2010 through 2014, 749 pedestrians were killed on New Jersey’s roads and more than 17,000 were injured, according to the New Jersey State Police. That translates into one death every 2.4 days and 11 injuries daily.
The statewide Street Smart NJ campaign is managed by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and began in 2013. The campaign urges pedestrians and motorists to “Check Your Vital Signs” to improve safety on the road. Motorists are urged to obey the speed limit and stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Pedestrians are told to use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal where applicable. A new “Heads Up, Phone Down” message has been added to the campaign this year to combat distracted driving and walking.
Businesses, organizations and individuals interested in helping to promote the Street Smart NJ message in Toms River, should contact Safety Officer Steve Schwartz 732-349-0150 ext 1293). To learn more about the campaign, visit bestreetsmartnj.org. The campaign is also on Facebook (StreetSmartNJ) and Twitter (@njstreetsmart).
A special thank you goes out to the young ladies from Girl Scout Troop 79, of the Jersey Shore Council for stopping by. These future leaders were here learning about policing and community service.