Police Leave Teens Locked in Van For Hours

"It was the worst thing that ever possibly happened to me," one boy says.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Five New Jersey teens say they were locked in a police van for 14 hours in freezing temperatures, abandoned by police. (Published Monday, Mar 28, 2011)

    Police who busted a Fort Lee, N.J., high school house party over the weekend left a van full of teens locked up and parked outside in the freezing cold for 14 hours without food, water or access to a bathroom.

    Officials only realized what had happened after a passerby heard screams and banging from the police van where five teens were trapped, NBC New York has learned.

    "We were cold, dehydrated, hungry," said Tony, 17. "I mean it was the worst thing that ever possibly happened to me."

    Police raided the house party at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday because of noise complaints from neighbors, according to Fort Lee borough attorney Lee Cohen.

    Several kids were rounded up and driven away in the van. Then, as temperatures dropped into the 20s and 30s, they were forgotten.

    Three of the teens spoke to NBC New York on Monday, on condition that their last names would not be used.

    They said they tried breaking out of the van, banging and kicking its doors to no avail. They pressed up together to stay warm against the cold, as their parents wondered where they were.

    "We had to huddle up together and just share body heat pretty much," said another boy, Liam.

    And without anywhere to relieve themselves, they had to urinate inside the van.

    Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said an internal investigation has been launched within the Fort Lee police department.

    Cohen, the Fort Lee borough attorney, declined to comment on the teens left outside, other than to say the case is under "active investigation."

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