SOUTH BRUNSWICK — A man is wanted for allegedly assaulting an officer during a traffic stop by pulling on the cop's necktie and then driving off, forcing the officer to run alongside.

South Brunswick Police said they responded to reports of a gray, 2016 Kia Sorrento with handicapped plates driving erratically on Route 32, near Route 535, around 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, and stopped a car driven by Alan Fratello Jr., 46, of Monmouth Junction.

During the stop, Fratello grabbed the tie of Det. Eric Tighelaar and drove off. The officer was able to push himself free of the car as Fratello drove over the center median heading towards Route 130.

Fratello and passenger Jacqueline Smith, 41, are already wanted by other police agencies, including Edison and Toms River, for unrelated offenses. Both Fratello and Smith have been known to drive the 2016 Sorrento, which has a handicapped license plate.

Fratello faces charges of aggravated assault, aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and eluding.

South Brunswick Chief Raymond Hayducka said the incident highlights the everyday dangers of law enforcement.

"It only takes a split second for a routine interaction to turn into a potential deadly situation," he said. "All the individuals involved are lucky that this did not end in tragedy."

South Brunswick Police asked anyone with information on Fratello and Smith's whereabouts to call them at 732-329-4646.

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

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