SOUTH BRUNSWICK – South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka announced the 2021 Police Awards recipients for officers of the department.
“Every year we examine the excellence of our officers and award them for outstanding actions they perform. This year there were numerous officers who went above and beyond to save lives and capture suspects,” Hayducka said in a prepared statement.
Some of the 2021 awards recognized officers for saving four lives, defusing three armed confrontations, and capturing five attempted murder suspect.
These awards were submitted to a committee of officers for a determination of their merits. A final report was submitted to Hayducka, who said, “I see the daily work of our officers, but in giving out this recognition, everyone can see the bravery, perseverance and dedication. The men and women of our department are some of the best in the state and their actions reflect that,” according to the statement.
Life Saving Medal: Officer Marcus Leysath, Officer Dale Hubner, Officer Tyler Harpster
On June 14, 2020, these officers responded to a report of a male who had collapsed in the front yard of his home and was unresponsive. The three officers quickly responded and began CPR. The officers applied an automated external defibrillator (AED) which shocked the man. The man regained a pulse and made a full recovery. Their rapid response and intervention saved his life.
Exceptional Service Award: Patrolman First Class George Vit
On May 7, 2020, Vit took decisive actions to end a dangerous situation where a man suffering a maniac episode was endangering other motorist. Several motorists called 911 to report a vehicle was swerving back and forth along Route 1 southbound during morning rush hour. Witnesses indicated the vehicle almost struck several other vehicles. The suspect refused to stop his vehicle when police arrived on scene. Vit was forced to use his patrol vehicle to prevent the suspect from striking any civilian vehicles. The suspect struck Vit’s vehicle and both cars came to a stop without injury. The suspect was arrested and transported to an area hospital for a mental health evaluation. Vit’s actions prevented serious injury to the public.
Exceptional Service: Officer Brian Luck
On Oct. 4, 2020, officers were dispatched to a stabbing at White Oak Court and Bard Drive North. Luck was first to arrive and located two victims with stab wounds, one to the chest and one to the arm. Luck immediately rendered first aid to the victim who had been stabbed in the chest. He quickly applied a seal to the chest wound preventing the victim’s lung from collapsing. Luck also developed information that identified one of the suspects in the attack.
Exceptional Service Award: Detective Rick DeLucia
On Oct. 4, 2020, DeLucia investigated an attempted murder stabbing incident on Bard Drive. The suspects had chased the victims in their vehicle, rammed the victim’s vehicle and stabbed the victim. DeLucia was able to piece together Ring doorbell video and witness statements to identify the three actors. DeLucia’ s persistence and tenacity led to the execution of 13 search warrants and arrest of all three suspects. All three men were charged with weapons possession, aggravated assault and attempted murder.
Exceptional Service Award: Sgt. First Class Richard Hutchison
On Dec. 31, 2020, Hutchison responded to a report of an emotionally disturbed man who was suffering from a mental crisis. The individual had swung scissors at individuals and was barricaded in a room. Hutchison’s initial efforts to de-escalate were unsuccessful. Officers made entry and Hutchison was able to disarm the male without injury. Hutchison’s decisive actions safely resolved the incident.
Exceptional Service Award” Lt. Roger Tuohy, Sgt. Anthony Pisano, Private First Class Michael Leung, Officer Ryan Bartunek, Detective Rick DeLucia, Officer Kent English
On Oct. 15, 2020, officers were called to an area motel where a firearm was shown by a suspect staying at the motel during a dispute. Officers evacuated nearby motel rooms and set up a perimeter. Tuohy assembled a team of officers: Pisano, Leung, Bartunek, DeLucia and English, to attempt to make contact with the suspect. Officers approached the room and began negotiating with the highly agitated individual. At one point, the suspect stood in the doorway and officers quickly grabbed him and pulled him out of the room. Officers secured him and recovered a loaded firearm and drugs in the room. The decisive action and professionalism of all the officers safely resolved a dangerous situation.
Exceptional Service Award: Private First Class Michael Leung, Officer Ryan Bartunek, Officer Jason Stonkus
On Nov. 10, 2020, officers responded to a residence to assist counselors with a mental health screening. Counselors told officers the male initially agreed to go to the hospital for a mental health evaluation but then exited the ambulance and re-entered his residence. Officers attempted to calm the male and de-escalate the situation, but the male ran into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. The officers raced into the kitchen and were able to wrestle the knife away. The officers’ quick and decisive action prevented the male from harming himself or others.
Exceptional Service Award: Detective Timothy Hoover
On July 11, 2020, Hoover responded to a shooting in an apartment complex where the victim was shot multiple times. Hoover worked tirelessly, interviewing over a dozen potential witnesses to identify the suspects responsible. Hoover worked with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the United States Marshal’s Service to track down one of the suspects, who had fled to Delaware. Hoover obtained and executed seven search warrants which led to the suspect being charged with weapons possession, aggravated assault and attempted murder charges.
Several other officers were recognized for excellence in physical fitness, firearms proficiency, crime scene processing and educational accomplishment.
“It is the great work that the men and women of the South Brunswick police do daily that makes a difference. These awards highlight the best of who we are,” Hayducka said in the statement.
- The information related to the incidents and charges was provided by the South Brunswick Police Department.