Rahway fire chief relieved of duty, to resign following DWI arrest

Rahway Fire Chief William Young

RAHWAY, NJ — Fire Chief William R. Young Jr. will resign next month after being charged with driving while intoxicated in November, Mayor Raymond Giacobbe said.

“Fire Chief Young has notified the city that he will retire effective Feb. 1, 2018,” the mayor said in a Jan. 23 email. “The chief has been relieved of his duties effective Jan. 12, 2018. Battalion Chief Michael Roberts is serving as acting chief.”
Young was arrested following a November traffic stop during which officers in Jackson Township allegedly observed vomit and urine stains on him, according to a police report.

Young, 60, who also serves a the city’s fire director, was pulled over in his hometown of Jackson at around 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 1. Police responded to a report of “an erratic driver” after several people called dispatch stating they had seen a white BMW “all over the road” that had almost hit a bus and a wall, police said.

Matthew Reisig, an attorney representing Young, did not respond to two requests for comment. Young did not respond to a request for comment Jan. 18.

Jackson police initiated a traffic stop after they saw Young’s car brake for about 30 seconds at a stop sign where no other cars were coming, the report stated.

The officer turned on his vehicle’s emergency lights and walked toward Young’s car, the chief began to drive away, but eventually pulled off to the side of the road after the officer followed him and turned on his siren, the police report said.

When asked to provide his license, registration and proof of insurance, Young said, “in effect, ‘Yeah, I have it somewhere,’” officer Michael Morizio said in his report of the incident.

While Young was searching for his documents in his glove box, the officer smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the car, he reported. The officer also said he observed stains on Young’s sweatshirt, which he “recognized to be from vomiting very recently,” and added that he had observed a stain on the chief’s pants that appeared to be urine.

After searching for more than a minute, Young could not find his registration or insurance and reached into his wallet and instead handed the officer his driver’s license and firefighter identification, according to the report.

The officer reported that Young’s hands moved slowly and were trembling slightly as he handed over his documentation. When asked, Young told the officer he was coming back from a party in Rahway and that he’d “had a few.” The officer also smelled alcohol on Young’s breath, according to the report.

A second officer at the scene had to help the chief open the door because he was unable to locate the handle, the report said.
When the chief stepped out of the vehicle, he lost his balance and fell into his car, using it as support, the report said. Young was told he would be put through a series of field sobriety tests.

He “stated that he understood, but he was not that drunk,” Morizio wrote in his report.
Young lost his balance immediately while raising his arms and placing his foot back on the ground during the one leg-stand test, the report said. Young attempted to raise his foot again and began counting, but lost his balance and fell backward, police reported.

An officer caught Young and helped him regain his composure, the report said. Young was “incapable of completing
the test and was having trouble standing,” the report said. Police terminated the test for “safety reasons.”

Young was handcuffed and almost fell forward while being escorted to the police car, but an officer helped stabilize him, police said. He “appeared to be nauseous,” constantly dry heaving, burping and breathing heavily while enroute to police headquarters, the report said.
Young called his wife, but had difficulty explaining what had transpired, the report said. The officer then explained the situation to Young’s wife, police reported.

An officer offered Young the use of facilities in case he needed to vomit, but he declined. While being observed, Young said he was going to vomit and immediately did so in his cell for approximately two minutes, the report said.

At the station, Young agreed to an Alcotest, an alcohol breath test, which showed that his blood alcohol concentration was .12 percent, the police report stated. The legal limit in New Jersey is .08 percent.

Young’s wife picked him up at headquarters, the report stated.
In addition to driving while intoxicated, Young was also charged with reckless driving and driving in marked lanes.
The chief’s annual salary is about $173,000, according to state records. He is scheduled to appear in Jackson Township Municipal Court on Thursday, Feb. 8.

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