Jersey City Councilman Apologizes Following DWI Charges Involving City Vehicle

A Jersey City councilman is apologizing after his arrest on DWI charges following what police describe as a three-car crash while he drove a city vehicle with flashing emergency lights.

Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal was arrested after the crash early Saturday at Comminipaw and West Side avenues.

In a statement Monday, he said: "I would like to apologize to my constituents and all of the people of Jersey City for my actions on Saturday morning. I take full responsibility for this incident which I regret very deeply."

"I made a mistake and will deal with the consequences through the legal system as well as participate in a counseling program. ... I have learned a valuable lesson and will never allow anything like this to happen again," Ramchal said.

The councilman was ticketed previously in 2009 for driving with illegal use of warning lights. Mayor Steven Fulop has said Ramchal never should have had a city car in the first place.

According to the police report, the drivers of the other two cars involved in the crash told police that Ramchal’s Ford Explorer ran a red light at Communipaw Avenue while flashing red and blue lights and slammed into a taxi, which spun out of control and hit a Mazda sedan.

No one was seriously injured in the crash, but the taxi’s passenger was taken to the hospital after complaining of back pain.

Ramchal allegedly told police that the driver of the taxi "cut the red light” at the intersection and caused the crash.

According to the police report, the officer smelled alcohol when he approached Ramchal’s car. He made the councilman do a field sobriety test, which he allegedly failed.

Police say that Ramchal’s blood-alcohol level was .15 percent, nearly twice the threshold for DWI charges.

Ramchal was released from police custody later Saturday.

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