State to pick up $2K towing and storage charges for car impounded after trooper shot at teens
Sparta, New Jersey (My9NJ) - Six weeks after an off-duty state trooper shot at three teens, who mistakenly knocked on his door in the middle of the night, no charges have been filed.
But Lyndsay Baker-Marasco, whose son John was driving her car and trying to get out of the Sparta neighborhood as shots rang out, is still being affected.
Her car was held by the State Police as evidence for three weeks, and she was being told she had to foot the bill of towing and storage: $2,000.
"It's very hard to describe," Baker-Marasco said of her life in limbo, "I don't know, I'm disappointed, I'm just very sad that something like this happens."
UPDATE: After our report aired Thursday evening, the state Attorney General's office informed Chasing News that the state would pick up the towing and storage costs.
Baker-Marasco's son was returning from a party with two of his friends early the morning of July 26 when one of the other young men directed them to a house on Whispering Woods Lane where they would sleep for the night.
It turned out to be the wrong address -- one over from where they wanted to go -- and their loud knocks at the front and back of the house roused the trooper from sleep and terrified the man's wife.
Arming himself with a personal handgun, the trooper ran after the teens as they piled back into the car and drove away, the state Attorney General's Office has said.
But Whispering Woods Lane is a cul-du-sac, so the car had to pass the trooper's home again to leave the neighborhood. Baker-Marasco said her son saw a laser from the weapon's gun sight in his eye as the car near the trooper standing in the street, who fired three times.
Escaping without injury, the teens fled for about a mile before the car broke down after a bullet hit a tire. John then called 911.
The State Police directed all comments for this story to the Attorney General's Office, which said the shooting is still being investigated.
Hayden's Auto and Truck Repair was contacted by the State Police to tow Baker-Marasco's car to the State Police garage in Totowa, where the front tire was removed for evidence.
After the car was searched, Hayden's owner, Chris Hayden, says his business was contacted to bring the car back to his yard.
"Nobody's ever told me to come get a car," said Hayden, who tows for Sparta Township and the state, "And bring it here. And charge her more."
Hayden says he is willing to work with Baker-Marasco, take the car off her hands and forgive the bill.
Baker-Marasco says she wants the car back because of its sentimental value. It was the car her late son Kirk drove to California three years ago, where he died from an illness at age 21.
"That's why I wanted to keep it, no matter what condition it was in because it means so much to me," Baker-Marasco said, "It was his first car."
A single parent, Baker-Marasco said she feels helpless against a law enforcement system that has given her precious little information and won't take her phone calls. She worries about her son John, who starts his freshman year in college this year, and her now-eldest son Andrew.
"I don't like the way it's affecting them because, can you blame them if they have no respect for the police?" she said.