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Cops: Man Flees Crash Scene, Assaults Police

The following information was provided by the Washington Township Police Department. It does not indicate a conviction.

A Long Valley man was arrested for assaulting two police officers after fleeing the scene of a car crash on Schooley’s Mountain Road Thursday, Lt. Doug Compton said.

Samuel Tawiah, 20, of Long Valley, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on police officers, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and hindering apprehension.

Tawiah had left the scene of a three-car accident, which occurred in front of the Schooley’s Mountain General Store Thursday at about 5:30 p.m., Compton said.

Officer Peter Cecere located Tawiah walking north on Schooley’s Mountain Road, Compton said, and approached him to see if he was injured from the crash.

Tawiah then assaulted Cecere, Compton said, and ran away, attempting to enter a car that was stopped on Schooley’s Mountain Road. Tawiah was unsuccessful and broke into a home nearby, Compton said. Cecere and the police department’s K-9 Kobe pursued Tawiah into the home, Compton said.

Sgt. Jeffrey Almer also pursued Tawiah, Compton said, and entered the home. Inside the residence, Tawiah continued to assault Cecere and assaulted Almer as well during a lengthy altercation throughout the residence, Compton said.

Tawiah was eventually subdued and arrested, Compton said.

The homeowner was in the house, Compton said, and remained upstairs during the altercation.

Tawiah was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Shikhar Mishra, 19, of Long Valley. Justin Abbate, 19, also of Long Valley, was also a passenger in the vehicle.

It was discovered at the accident scene that Mishra had disposed of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, Compton said. The items were discovered by officers with the assistance of the Morris County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit.

Compton said it is unknown if Tawiah was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Cecere and Almer were treated at Hackettstown Medical Center and released. Cecere suffered a broken hand and Almer received injuries to his knee and thigh, Compton said.

Tawiah was transported to the medical center and treated for injuries to his legs and head, Compton said. Upon his release, he was transported to Morris County Correctional Facility and held on $50,000 bail with no 10-percent option.

Shikhar was charged with possession of marijuana under 50 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia, tampering with evidence and obstruction. Abbate was charged with obstruction.

Cecere is expected to be out of work at least six weeks, Compton said, due to his broken left hand during the incident.

For questions about this post, please email jason.koestenblatt@patch.com

Kevin March 23, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Why didnt pete release Kobe to help subdue this unruly kid?
jackie March 23, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Good question. Hope Officer Cecere a speedy recovery.
Alice Jameson March 23, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I was wondering the same thing. Although having observed another Malinois K-9 train “on the sleeve,” I’d venture to say that it may have been an act of mercy on Officer Cecere’s part.
Hookerman March 23, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I may be wrong, but I don't think K-9 dogs work that way. I believe that dog has to be on a leash and issued commands from his trainer. I remember attending a seminar at the Morris County Sheriff's facility on K-9 training, and the trainer stated that in the dog's mind, he's not attacking someone or stopping a bad guy, but actually participating in a fun game. I remember him saying; "we don't tell the criminals that".
Alice Jameson March 23, 2012 at 05:04 PM
The K-9 I’m referring to came from Monmouth County. His handler told a story of how a higher ranking police officer climbed into his cruiser by mistake. When the man felt the K-9’s hot breath on his neck, he screamed and jumped out of the car! The K-9s I knew in Monmouth were very intense; it all has to do with the way they’re trained. I’m not familiar with the training and use of K-9s in Morris County, but in Monmouth (unless something’s changed in recent years), if a suspect runs, a warning is issued, and the K-9 can be released.
Kevin March 23, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I have watched a demonstration of our K-9 Kobe and he was demonstrated to be able to take down a grown man. The demonstration was with Kobe off leash. I would think that releasing the dog on a criminal who injured 2 officers with enough force to break a hand and require 2 officer's to go to the hospital would warrant the dog to be released. Atleast 1 officer is out of work medically and possibly the other as well.
Joanne March 23, 2012 at 07:00 PM
this is very sad, what is happening to Long Valley? (break in's, drugs, you name it) I wish the Lt. and officer a speedy recovery!
Tracy Tobin March 23, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Joanne and Others This type of incident is taking place every day in towns just like ours. Most of the time the individual involved is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In many other cases the person has outstanding warrants from other towns and/or States. Routine traffic stops can turn violent without any warning. One of the first steps after an incident like this is an investigation to see if "the officer(s) used excessive force" to subdue the suspect. I am sorry to hear that both Pete and Jeff were injured in the line of duty. Now some residents will understand why a backup unit appears at most traffic stops, even if there is nothing suspicious when a car is first pulled over.
cv March 23, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Dogs are excellent in catching suspects my rottweiler can take down a 300 lb man no problem with one command. I hope the officers are well and I am proud to live in a town with such great law enforcement.
maggie March 23, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Great job from our Washington Township Finest! They responded quickly and brought the incident under control. Wishing them all a speedy recovery -- sad these teenagers just don't wise up and realize they TOO have to work for what they want!
judi March 24, 2012 at 12:34 PM
@Joanne--unfortunetly drugs, kids acting crazy etc..has been going on in Long Valley for as long as I have lived here-which is 20 yrs...As many of us have stated in previous articles on Patch-a majority of LV residents are truely in denial about what goes on here and think that their child, neighbor or whomever can do no wrong...Thanks to Patch for bringing all of this to the fore front and hopefully making more people aware of what can and does on in Long Valley..Having said that---I love living here and feel that the LV community is a strong, caring and close knit community--For example -what this community is doing for Glenn Lightner and his family-Its truely heartwarming to see what we can do when we pull together!!!We just have to be more aware of what is going on and not turn the other cheek.--Speedy recovery to Pete and Jeff--Job WELL done!!!!
Tracy March 24, 2012 at 12:54 PM
I to commend the officers for their patience and restraint. This situation could have turned out so differently as we have read about in other areas...I would rather see this kid behind bars then in a coffin. Hopefully he will learn a life lesson from this.
cyndi allen March 24, 2012 at 01:08 PM
All I can say or rather ask Why? What is wrong with these kids? Why are they not in college, learning to become a contributing member of society? Yes, they have some kind of job making them able to buy drugs and maintain a car. But they seem to be wasting away their existence. I bet the officers never expected, this wild chase and rumble with a 19 year-old, passenger? I give those two officers kudos, for their patience and professionalism. It takes a special person to be involved in law enforcement. My other question is about those police dogs, Are the dogs demeanor damaged in any way by witnessing violence? Are those dogs an onlooker, or are they kept separated from the crazy?
Kristin Smith March 24, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Kevin, Pete did release Kobe. I was 2 cars back from the incident. He almost had the kid, but he had a loose fitting jacket on and Kobe couldn't grab on. Very scary scene.
Laura Hanrahan March 24, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Yes I witnessed the release of Kobe from my vehicle about 20 feet from the scene. Kobe was swift and agile. I agree with Kristin, pretty scary scene... Not to minimize the injuries to the Angels in Blue of the WTPD but I am thankful no one got more seriously injured with all that was taking place to subdue this man on the run. Many prayers were raised as I watched this capture unfold before my eyes. We are blessed to have such sacrificial and selfless servants who protect our town 24/7 and run into conflict willing to lay down there life. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I could not feel more confident of their capabilities if an intruder entered our home when we were home with our little ones. May God bless these men and women, and meet there every need!
Kevin March 24, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Thanks for the updates Kristin and Laura. Its crazy what people/teens do. Hope both Pete and Jeff recover quickly. Hope Kobe got a treat too for a good job.
PD73 March 24, 2012 at 02:22 PM
We were the second car back when this happened. My husband got out to try to help but before he got there the kid got loose and ran like the dickens. I called 911 - as did many of the onlookers from their cars - and after explaining what was going on including saying 'he is getting away and the cop needs HELP NOW' I was told 'I'll transfer you"! Seriously??? The situation was URGENT. Thank God back up was there in two minutes. This is one FINE officer! I feel very safe in LV but I'm also glad to have two dogs.
Kristin Smith March 24, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I agree PD37. You must have been coming up the mountain because I was the 2nd car coming down. Shame on me, I never even thought to call 911. I saw the kid running up the median and got so scared, I locked my doors and put up my windows and sat there in shock. Thank God the owner of the house stayed upstairs the whole time. I saw him come out looking very confused and scared. Laura - Were you coming down the mountain or up? I had a silver Audi behind me. Wondering if that was you?
Miles Morales March 24, 2012 at 05:35 PM
This guy is best friend. He was never like this. As we got older he started to develop a condition in his brain, he's always had numerous ailments, but non like this. He started to become more and more sluggish. We used to go roller skating and look at girls and go swimming and a bunch of other stuff. Once we graduated high school everything changed. He got involved with people who smoked weed and he though it helped him. The very first time he smoked weed with his other friends, he felt good apparently...after that he was never able to achieve that same feeling of relief and goodness again. I know the driver too, he was never about my friend Sam's safety...and HE'S the one that gets to go home. My friend, Sam never like confrontation. When we were in the hallways in school and he sneezed or coughed he'd run so that a teacher wouldn't come out and yell at him. When the cops came to see if he was okay, he must have gotten scared just like that and bolted out of there. He probably though he was in trouble. Shikhar I KNOW had drugs on him and Sam didn't want to be associated with him any more. That's why he freaked out and ran in that persons garage.
QuaereVeritatem March 25, 2012 at 02:30 AM
^ you misspelled grammar and made various other grammatical mistakes while criticizing someone else's grammar and sentence structure. Another classy, intelligent citizen displaying sound logic and empathy: Casting judgement while knowing little about what actually happened.All we have is what police have put out there, casting them in a favorable light.
MWM March 26, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Bravo LV PD! Speedy recovery to the Lt and Officer. Be sure to throw Kobe bone as well.
RK March 26, 2012 at 04:44 PM
@ Kevin: The police officer broke his hand while in pursuit of Tawiah. Tawiah did not break the officer's hand, the officer fell while chasing him. @ Cyndi Allen: Centenary College is in Hackettstown and CCM is close by. Last week was spring break for CCM students.
track0x10 April 04, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I respect the officers and their willingness to serve the community and to put themselves in harms way. They are doing their job, and that is good. On the other hand, I knew Sam back in high school and he was a shy, nice guy. He did not do drugs back then, and he even associated himself with the kids who had no friends and were socially awkward. (How many of you really befriended kids who were "retards"?) He was an awesome musician & drummer, and probably still is. He was bedridden for many months (this past year) having been affected by lyme disease, and was unable to attend school. Now that he's well enough and back in school, he unfortunately got into the wrong crowd and found comfort in something that would destroy him (drugs). My heart goes out to the officers, and Sam- just because he made some bad decisions does not mean he is a bad person. Pray that he will correct his path and make good out of his life.
ME November 18, 2012 at 10:40 PM
your an idiot, this is a drug dog and since when is it ok to have a dog attack anyone cerce is supposed to be a professional and based on size alone should have been able to handel this better, kids in this area call him the ginger cop and there are negative stories and comments about him specifically, why is this, and now early retirement for a broken hand I certainly am skeptical about his behavior and would love to know the whole truth since when does leaving the scene of an accident warrant a beat down
Annonymous January 23, 2013 at 08:15 AM
I hope that ginger bitch doesn't come out of early retirement he sucks as a person

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