March 10, 2008
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
JORDAN HILL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket No. BMA 004-03-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 25, 2008
Before Judges S.L. Reisner and Gilroy.
Defendant entered a conditional plea of guilty to charges of driving while intoxicated, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, refusal of a breathalyzer test, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2*fn1 , and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, N.J.S.A. 39:4-92. As permitted by his conditional guilty plea, he appeals from a Law Division order dated May 10, 2007, denying his suppression motion. We affirm.
On this appeal defendant contends that the police officer who stopped defendant's vehicle did not have an articulable and reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity, and that the stop was therefore illegal. Having reviewed the record, we conclude that this argument is without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). We also conclude that the decision of the Law Division, set forth in Judge Roma's written opinion dated May 10, 2007, is supported by substantial credible evidence. See State v. Locurto, 157 N.J. 463, 475 (1999); State v. Johnson, 42 N.J. 146, 157 (1964). We add the following comments.
In the municipal court, Officer Robert Murphy of the Harrington Park Police Department testified that he received a call from Dispatch about a report of a gray pickup truck said to be driving erratically, in the vicinity of Old Hook Road. Because there was moderate to heavy traffic for that time of night, the officer proceeded down Old Hook Road with his siren on and lights flashing. According to the officer, when he approached a signal-controlled intersection on Old Hook Road near Pascack Valley Hospital, all the other vehicles on the road pulled over to the right, except for defendant's gray truck. Defendant's truck remained in the left lane despite the officer's efforts to get defendant's attention. Because defendant had failed to yield to the police vehicle, the officer followed defendant's truck after it turned left and then pulled defendant over. At that point, he discovered evidence that defendant was driving while intoxicated.
Based on this testimony, which both the municipal judge and Judge Roma found credible, the officer had a reasonable and articulable suspicion that defendant had failed to yield to an emergency vehicle, in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-92(a), and had a lawful basis for the stop. See State v. Locurto, supra, 157 N.J. at 470.