Off-duty NJ trooper pulls gun on DWI suspects

CHERRY HILL, N.J. - July 30, 2012

Police said it was just before 7:00 p.m. Sunday when an off-duty trooper, Acting Sgt. 1st Class Frank Moore, was traveling southbound on Interstate 295 when he noticed two men in a vehicle drinking beer and throwing the empty cans out the windows, hitting the vehicles behind them.

According to authorities, Moore pulled up beside the vehicle, which then sped off.

Shortly thereafter, the suspects' vehicle crashed into the center median near Exit 32 in Cherry Hill.

Moore pulled up to the scene and the two men tried to flee until Moore pulled his gun.

Police say neither of the two men spoke English, so Moore had to pull his gun to show how serious the situation was.

Action News obtained cell phone video recorded during the incident by Pastor David Price of Sicklerville.

"I was scared. I've seen people with guns before, but never on an interstate," said Pastor Price, who was driving with his wife at the time.

"Then we saw someone on the ground and we said 'Oh my goodness, someone is hurt.' I was getting ready to pull over then I noticed there was someone standing over top of him with a gun," Price continued.

Price said he kept driving because he didn't know if the man with the gun was a 'good guy or a bad guy.'

Another off-duty trooper, Jason Salmeri, soon arrived at the scene to assist until uniformed troopers arrived to take the men into custody. Salmeri speaks fluent Spanish, police said, and was able to communicate with the suspects.

The driver has been identified at 20 year-old Amando Bautista-Perez of Glassboro, NJ. He has been charged with DWI and other traffic offenses as well as obstruction and drinking under age.

The passenger has been identified as 19 year-old Abdias Pablo of Glassboro, NJ. He has been charged with obstruction and underage drinking.

Authorities say neither had a license and both are uninsured.

Price says he and other drivers out there last night are lucky the suspects were spotted by off duty trooper before they killed someone.

"They could have killed themselves, so they should be thanking the police officer, even with the trouble that they're in," Price said.

State police say their troopers are expected to jump in when needed whether on duty or off, and they say the troopers handled this situation professionally.

Moore is usually assigned to Troop C, traffic division in Hamilton Township. Salmeri works out of the Bordentown Station.

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