A Sparta police officer escaped injury after he was trapped in his patrol car for about a half-hour when two trees fell on the vehicle while he was responding to a report of a tree that had fallen into a home.
Officer Jeffery McCarrick, an 18-year veteran, was traveling south on Lafayette Road en route to the West Shore Trail home, according to a statement released by the police department.
McCarrick saw a tree falling in front of his vehicle and took evasive action to avoid being struck, the statement said. The tree hit the passenger's side windshield, police said.
McCarrick's vehicle was then struck from behind by a second tree that smashed the rear window and crushed the trunk, the statement said. Live wires were entangled in the trees, police said.
The officer was trapped inside the vehicle for about 30 minutes, the statement said. Officers were able to cut up the tree in the rear to allow McCarrick to escape the accident and not sustain any injuries, police said.
Hurricane Sandy, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm, caused the closure of 19 Sparta roads due to downed trees, police said. There were 15 trees that fell into homes with damaged considered to be moderate to extensive.
Sparta received more than 250 calls to 911 on Monday, police said. According to police, the storm's strong winds have been the bigest concern.
Here are other incidents Sparta Police responded to on Tuesday.
- Road Closures: Stanhope Road at the intersection of Green Apple Road due to a downed tree tangled in wires.
- At The #100 Block of Alpine Trail due to a fallen tree across the roadway
- Rte. 94 by the Sussex Technical School, the road is partially blocked by a fallen tree.
- On Summit Trail in Lake Mohawk a tree has fallen onto a house causing extensive damage to the roof. There were no injuries reported. The homeowner is in the process of making temporary repairs.
- Power is now out through out the township. The Police Department is running on generator power. All electronic and communication systems are functioning properly.
- The Sparta OEM Operations Center was activated at 8:00 pm last night, 10/28/12. The Chief of Police Ernest Reigstad who is the Township OEM Coordinator and his Command Staff are on post and overseeing operations.
- Road Closures in addition to those mentioned above: Rte 181 at Sparta Ave, tree across the road with wires tangled in them.
- Mohawk Avenue at Woodport Road. Tree down.
- #100 block of East Shore, Tree fell onto a home causing extensive damage to the roof and chimney. (No injuries reported).
- #100 block of East Shore Trail tree on fire from transformer explosion. Burning embers set the roof of a Oak Parkway home on fire. Both fires put out by the Sparta Fire Department.
- One Sparta Patrol Vehicle sustained moderate damage when it was struck by a falling tree on Lafayette Road. The officer was trapped in the vehicle for approximately 15-minutes due to live wires being entangled in the tree and police vehicle. JCP&L was able to cut the power and the officer was freed. He was uninjured and has is back on duty. The vehicle which had both front and rear windshields smashed was taken out of service.
- Rain is not an issue at this time but high wind gusts are.