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Woman Drives Wrong Way on Route 37, Misses Police Vehicle as Crash Unfolds

9 p.m. Thursday incident led to driving while intoxicated charges

A woman driving through oncoming traffic nearly collided head-on with a police car Thursday night. The police car was then rear-ended by a third vehicle as police attempted to stop the allegedly intoxicated female who was driving east in the Route 37 westbound lanes for about a mile.

Officer William Hutton spotted the car driving the wrong way around Brookside Drive on Route 37 and abruptly stopped in the westbound lanes and activated his emergency lights and sirens, said Capt. Steven Henry.

The driver veered out of the way, managing to avoid a head-on collision with Hutton's police car, Henry said. But a car driving behind Hutton was unable to stop and rear-ended the officer's vehicle.

"Officer Hutton immediately activated his emergency lights and siren and came to an abrupt stop," Henry said. "The west bound vehicle swerved, narrowly missing the police unit. A second vehicle operated by a Skylar Dean of Whiting was traveling east bound behind the police unit.  Dean was unable to stop in time, striking the police vehicle in the rear."

Hutton was transported to Community Medical Center for minor injuries. He was soon after released.

Meanwhile, Officer Greg Errion was in the area of Route 37 East and Gilford Avenue, about a mile away. Errion spotted the vehicle traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes still. 

Henry said the driver managed to pass the second police car, then turned into a parking lot.

"Officer Errion activated his emergency lights and stopped his vehicle. The east bound vehicle passed him and turned off the highway into a parking lot.  Officer Errion was able to detain the operator as she attempted to exit the vehicle," Henry said. 

Errion placed the female driver under arrest. Meghann Sabato, 32, of Barnes Lane of Toms River, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and several other motor vehicle violations.

Henry said the two officers' actions were essential to preventing further injury to other drivers on OUrte 37.

"Officer Hutton is credited for his initial actions which in this case prevented a head-on collision with his vehicle, and the other motorist behind him," he said. 

Traffic Safety Officer Steven Schwartz and Sergeant Edward Mooney conducted an investigation.

. September 08, 2012 at 03:42 AM
There is just no way to stop these drunks from driving!!!
Can't shut me up September 08, 2012 at 03:56 AM
DWI checkpoints work. Hang her!!!!!!!
Sandy Anagnostis-Peace September 08, 2012 at 10:22 AM
Another disgusting human being!!!!!!!!
Martin September 08, 2012 at 11:16 AM
They could pay for the whole year's township budget if they stopped and fined every drunk and high driver coming from Seaside between 10 PM and 3 AM each night. And they could pay the whole year's county budget if they stopped and fined every talking and texting driver all over Toms River daily.
barbara September 08, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Glad Officer Hutton was not seriously injured, could have been much worse. Unbelievable, people just never learn, don't drink and drive. She should have her license suspended.
Barry Fleckmann September 08, 2012 at 02:01 PM
I love the way that events like this are ALWAYS preceded by the word, "alleged." I mean, there WEREN'T eyewitnesses? Was Abraham Lincoln "allegedly" killed by John Wilkes Booth? Was John F. Kennedy "allegedly" killed by Lee Harvey Oswald? When are we going to make people responsible for their actions? The newspapers are ALWAYS qualifying things!
Martin September 08, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Ask a lawyer why that's done: Publish a false charge and get sued! For years it's been "police reported" that the perp "allegedly" did it. Judges and juries make people responsible for their actions. Then you can safely say he DID IT. Let that be a warning to some of the judgmental and outright hateful posters here on Patch.
anonymous September 08, 2012 at 03:53 PM
To say "hang her" and "disgusting human being" without knowing the full story is hateful and small minded. It's a miracle that no one was killed and she should be punished but to make assumptions when you don't know the whole story is ridiculous.
Sandy Anagnostis-Peace September 08, 2012 at 05:03 PM
She was intoxicated and driving what more story do you want!!! She is disgusting, nothing can justify drinking and driving, and if it was your family member had she killed , if she had killed anyone , you would change your tune! Enough said!!!!!
RCL67 September 08, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Thank God no one was killed. Take away her licence , or better yet, let her go to a morgue and see a body after someone is killed by one. I lost a friend to a drunk. There is NO EXCUSE anymore
. September 08, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Next time, she drinks and drives, she could kill a child, or a family member of any one of us. There is no excuse to break the law and drunk driving is just that. There is no more to the story that we have to know. I lost a cousin and her 4 year old son to a drunk driver that crossed the line and hit them head on. Should we have gotten his full story before we made assumptions???
Matt September 08, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Not only should they (and will they) take away her license, but I also think she should serve time in jail. She could have killed someone! Yet I also don't think we should hang her - a little extreme to me. Just saying.
MrSaturdayNightSpecial September 09, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Despite the fact that this was recorded on camera and I'm sure that there were witnesses, this is still the USA. And in USA we have rights. Such as the right to not be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law (5th amendment). So as guilty as she may be, she is innocent until proven guilty and entitled to a jury of her peers. Without these rights we are no better than an autocratic third world dictatorship.

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