Fort Lee Cop Assaulted at Gas Station as Tempers Flare over Long Lines
The incident occurred at the Sunoco station on Bergen Boulevard early Friday morning, where the New York man allegedly struck an officer and tried to push him out of the way in an attempt to get gas, police said.
A New York man allegedly assaulted a Fort Lee police officer at a gas station on Bergen Boulevard early Friday morning, becoming "enraged" after learning the station might be out of gas by the time he made it to the front of the line.
Christian Cruz-Bello, 23, of East Elmhurst, NY had been waiting in line in his car at the Sunoco station on Route 1 North in Fort Lee at about 5:30 a.m. Friday. When he reached the front of the line, police told him to wait before pulling in because the station might be out of gas, police said.
Cruz-Bello allegedly ignored that order and pulled into the station anyway, but officers were able to stop him before he reached the gas pumps. Police said Cruz-Bello “became enraged,” got out of his car with a gas can and started walking to the pumps instead.
Police said Cruz-Bello’s car was in a “hazardous position,” preventing other vehicles from getting into or out of the station safely, so officers called for a tow truck.
Cruz-Bello then returned to his car but was told by police it was being towed, police said.
It was then that police allege Cruz-Bello struck Det. Nick Orta of the Fort Lee Police Department and tried to push him out of the way and get back into his car.
Orta told Cruz-Bello he was under arrest for assault and tried to handcuff him, but Cruz-Bello allegedly resisted and had to be restrained by three police officers, police said.
Cruz-Bello was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and resisting arrest, according to police.
Bail was set at $1,500, and Cruz-Bello was sent to the Bergen County Jail.
The incident occurred just a day after Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas O. Ripoli urged people to have patience at the few gas stations that are open and cooperate with the police officers patrolling them.