SPRING LAKE HEIGHTS — A councilman has stepped down after police say they found a hypodermic needle in his car during a traffic stop.

Spring Lake Heights Borough Administrator John Barrett told the Asbury Park Press that Robert Merriken, a Republican, turned in his resignation on Thursday.

Merriken, 68, told the newspaper that the needle in the car did not belong to him. He was traveling with passenger Cherice M. Hernandez, 39, a friend of his son. His son died in 2013.

Citing municipal court records Merriken also faces charges of failure to observe traffic control device, failure to give proper signal, failure to wear seat belt and unsafe operation of a vehicle.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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