New Jersey

Teen Driver Drags NJ Officer Nearly 50 Feet in Hotel Parking Lot, Police Say

A New Jersey police officer was injured Wednesday night after being dragged nearly 50 feet by a car outside a hotel, according to Gloucester Township police.

Gloucester Township Police Officer Craig Walsh was on patrol at the Howard Johnson Hotel on the 800 block of North Black Horse Pike on Wednesday around 11 p.m. He then spotted a teen boy running from the hotel building to a car with its lights off that was parked in the middle of the driveway, police said.

Walsh approached the vehicle and spoke to the teen. Another teen boy was in the passenger seat, investigators said.

During their conversation, the teen suddenly started the car, put it in reverse and accelerated backwards, police said. Officer Walsh was pinned in the open passenger door and dragged about 49 feet before the driver crashed into a tree. 

Despite injuring his right foot which was run over by the car, Officer Walsh still managed to capture the two suspects, identified as two 17-year-old boys. Walsh called for backup and more officers arrived to take the teens into custody.

Officer Walsh was taken to Cooper Hospital where he was treated for injuries to his head, arm, ankle and knee.

A second officer hurt his shoulder while taking the teens out of the vehicle, police said.

The teen driver was treated for a minor injury he suffered during the crash. He and the teen passenger were then transported to the Camden County Juvenile Detention Center.

Police said they found more than five ounces of marijuana, a distribution scale and drug-related packaging materials while searching the vehicle. 

Both teens are charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, possession of marijuana over 50 grams, possession with the intent to distribute, possession with the intent to distribute in a park zone and money laundering.

The first teen is also charged with eluding and assault by auto.

The incident was captured on both surveillance and body cam video.

"This incident is a clear reminder of how the men and women of the Gloucester Township Police Department display the greatest courage and work selflessly in protecting the community," Gloucester Township Police Chief Harry Earle said. "Their efforts have resulted in a significant reduction in crime and that is only because of the actions like Officer Walsh who dedicate himself to protecting others."

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