Friday, July 04, 2003

Teens in SUV charged with hitting bicyclists
By DAN P. LEE Staff Writer, The Press of Atlantic City

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP NJ - Police have arrested two teenagers on charges they drove around the township in a sport utility vehicle earlier this week, leaning out a window and striking two bicycle riders with a blunt object.

Both victims - whom police did not identify - suffered injuries but declined medical attention, police said.

According to police, Anthony Rizzo, 18, of Egg Harbor City, and an unidentified 16-year-old township boy approached the two bicycle riders within 10 minutes of each other, shortly after 8 p.m. Monday.

Police said the teens first approached a 29-year-old township man riding his bicycle on Leipzig Avenue. One of the suspects leaned out a window of the vehicle and struck the man in the back with what the man described as a "bat-type object," police said. The vehicle then fled.

Six minutes later, police received a report that a 49-year-old township woman who had been riding her bike in the area of Zurich Avenue and Herschel Street had also been struck on her back. Once again, the vehicle fled.

A description of the vehicle was broadcast, and Richard Stockton College of New Jersey police spotted and stopped a vehicle matching the description at the intersection of Jimmie Leeds Road and First Avenue, police said. A subsequent investigation by two township police officers led to the arrest of the two occupants.

The vehicle, a 1998 Dodge Durango, was impounded by police.

The teens were charged with two counts each of aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a weapon. It was not clear if a bat was recovered.

Rizzo was released on $1,000 bail and the 16-year-old was released to a parent, police said.