Two men were arrested on DWI charges after police say one of them allegedly wrecked a relative's car on a New Jersey road and then enlisted the other to help him dump water on the street on a frigid cold night to make it appear that black ice caused the crash.
Brian Byers and Alexander Zambenedetti, both 20, were arrested after Byers allegedly crashed a 2001 BMW early Saturday at Woodport and Sawmill roads in Sparta and then came back with Zambenedetti so he could dump water on the intersection to make it appear that black ice contributed to the crash.
Police say that Byers hit a guardrail with the car, which was registered to a family member, when he ran the stop sign early Saturday. He allegedly drove off after the wreck, taking the damaged car to his house about a mile away.
Then, police say, Zambenedetti drove Byers back to the scene in a 2005 BMW. Police say they brought two five-gallon buckets full of water and allegedly poured them onto the intersection to create a black ice slick on the road. It is unclear if the duo made multiple trips to freeze over the road.
The pair was cuffed after an officer on patrol saw Zambenedetti standing outside on the 1-degree night without a shirt on. Byers was sitting in the passenger’s seat, and the officer found the two buckets in clear view.
By the time the officer arrived, the water on the roadway had frozen, making the intersection too dangerous to drive on. A snow plow had to come to the scene and drop about a half a ton of salt on the roadway to make it safe for travel.
Byers was arrested on several charges including DWI, leaving the scene of an accident and disorderly conduct for creating a dangerous condition by purposely icing an intersection.
Zambenedetti was also arrested on DWI charges after he allegedly failed a field sobriety test at the intersection. Police say he denied driving the car to the scene even though he had sat in the driver’s seat at one point.
Both men were released Saturday morning and are set to appear in court later this week.