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South Passaic Daily Voice serves Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Totowa, Wayne & Woodland Park

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Sheriff: Little Falls Heroin User Grazes Pedestrian With Car, Keeps Going

Brian Vanbiert
Brian Vanbiert Photo Credit: MUGSHOT: Courtesy PASSAIC COUNTY SHERIFF

PATERSON, N.J. -- A 53-year-old Little Falls motorist was under the influence of heroin when he grazed a pedestrian with his car while running a stop sign in Paterson and then kept going, authorities said Sunday.

The 48-year-old victim flagged down Officer Piotr Pogorzelski at East 31st Street and Madison Avenue Saturday night and described being "lightly" struck by a burgundy Chevy Camaro driven by a man who seemed drunk or on drugs, Passaic County Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik said.

Pogorzelski, with help from backup officers, found Brian Vanbiert, who had a valid registration and insurance card but apparently no driver's license, Berdnik said.

"Noticing [Vanbiert’s] odd behavior and an odor of alcohol, Officer Pogorzelski suspected that he was, in fact, driving under the influence," the sheriff said.

Vanbiert was taken into custody after failing a series of field sobriety tests, Berdnik said.

Police found his driver's license in his pocket, along with 25 folds of heroin stamped "BMW" and "El Chapo," he said.

After he didn't register anything on a breath test, Vanbiert was examined by a drug recognition expert "who determined that he was under the influence of narcotics," the sheriff said.

He was released pending a hearing on charges of drug possession, being under the influence of drugs, driving under the influence of drugs and leaving the scene of a crash, among other offenses.

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