Driver charged in cop assault; allegedly tried to ram officer
[Bergen County, NJ]

Paulo Lima, Staff Writer
February 20, 2001, Tuesday
Copyright 2001 North Jersey Media Group Inc.
The Record (Bergen County, NJ)
February 20, 2001, Tuesday

(BERGEN COUNTY, N.J.) -- Police said a borough man tried to run down an officer after receiving a batch of traffic summonses early Monday.

Officer Keith Ehalt dodged the charging car, thanks in part to Sgt. Scott Kral, who leaned in through the driver's window and jerked the steering wheel aside before the driver sped away.

Ehalt and Kral caught up with the motorist at his home about a block away and charged him with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer.

Gregory 1 Mayford, 23, of Carlson Street was being held on $20,000 bail Monday in the Bergen County Jail.

Kral was treated at Hackensack University Medical Center for a swollen elbow. Ehalt was not injured.

"All that for a ticket," said police Lt. Ralph Verdi. "The two officers really feel that he was trying to run Ehalt over."

Ehalt first spotted Mayford's 1991 Ford Mustang stopped beside a blue Corvette at the traffic light at Route 46 and Industrial Avenue shortly after 12:30 a.m. Monday, Verdi said. When the light changed, the two cars peeled off east on Route 46 as if they were racing, he said.

Ehalt followed the cars without turning on his lights and siren, Verdi said. He lost sight of the Corvette but stopped the Mustang on Union Avenue.

After confirming that the car was not stolen, Ehalt gave Mayford seven traffic summonses, on charges that included reckless driving and driving on a sidewalk, Verdi said.

In the meantime, the blue Corvette , driven by Mayford's girlfriend returned and pulled over, Verdi said. Her name was not available Monday.

By then, Kral had arrived as backup and was standing beside the Mustang when Ehalt handed Mayford the summonses. At that point, Mayford lost his temper, Verdi said.

"He tells Ehalt he's going to lose his license and becomes very agitated," Verdi said." He's screaming profanity and throws the tickets out the window."

As Ehalt walked toward the Corvette, Mayford gunned the engine of his Mustang and drove it toward Ehalt, Verdi said. Seeing this, Kral shouted a warning to Ehalt and then dove into the driver's window, he said.

"Kral grabbed the wheel and tugged it to the left and the guy dragged him for a good 10 to 15 yards," Verdi said.

Kral ran alongside the car, then let go as it sped up, he said.

The officers immediately drove to Mayford's address, about a block away, where they found him hiding in a side yard, Verdi said.

"He just put up his hands and said, 'You've got me, " Verdi said. "He decided he screwed up, I guess."

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