Knife-wielding driver crashes after Route 9 police chase, cops say
HOWELL — A Freehold woman who police said was driving aggressively and menacing a family in another car with a knife ended up crashing after blowing a red light in a police chase.
Howell police received a 911 call around 11:30 a.m. Thursday from a 22-year-old woman who was in the car with her parents. She said the driver of a white Ford Focus in front of them began driving aggressively and "brake-checking" them.
The driver, 51-year old Diane Maloney, then began waving an 8-inch folding, tactical-style knife out of her window, the caller told police.
In an effort to get away, the caller's vehicle tried to drive past the suspect's vehicle several times but kept getting blocked.
A police patrolman located the suspect's vehicle a short time later and attempted to initiate a motor vehicle stop in the area of Route 9 South at Georgia Tavern Road. Maloney refused to stop and continued to drive erratically south on Route 9, according to police.
As Maloney approached New Friendship Road, she made an illegal U-turn around the concrete barrier where she was confronted by Police Chief Andrew Kudrick, who spotted her holding the knife. Maloney refused to stop and continued north on Route 9, weaving in and out of traffic.
As she approached stopped traffic at the intersection for Georgia Tavern Road, Maloney drove around the other vehicles, disregarded the red traffic signal, entered the intersection and collided with a 2011 Toyota Rav 4 operated by 66-year old Frederick Ledger, of Howell.
After the collision, Maloney got out of her car and tried to flee on foot but was arrested by Kudrick.
Maloney suffered minor injuries and the knife was found inside her vehicle, police said. She was transported to CentraState Medical Center.
Ledger sustained moderate injuries and was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center.
Neither Ledger nor Maloney had passengers.
Maloney was criminally charged with eluding, terroristic threats, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, unlawful possession of a weapon and assault by auto. She also was issued several motor vehicle citations.
Police say additional charges may be issued after toxicology results are known.
Route 9 northbound was closed for several hours on Thursday afternoon before it reopened at 4:30 p.m. The ramps from Route 195 to Route 9 north were also closed.
Maloney was transferred to the Monmouth County Correctional Institute after her release from the hospital.
The Howell First Aid and Rescue Squad, Howell Police Emergency Medical Services and the Adelphia and Southard fire companies also responded.