New Jersey

New Jersey police officer hospitalized after being struck, dragged by car

A New Jersey police officer was struck by a car and dragged for more than 30 feet early Saturday, then thrown into a parked car when the vehicle's driver swerved in a bid to escape, police said.

Riverside police say Sgt. Amaya Urtasun was being treated at a hospital for knee and abdominal injuries, but further details on her condition have not been disclosed.

The ordeal started around 1 a.m., when Urtasun was the first officer to respond to a suspicious vehicle call at an elementary school.

Authorities say the driver, 23-year-old Brandon Belton of Willingboro, wouldn't cooperate with Urtasun's directives as she stood at the driver's side door. They say he then put the car in drive and accelerated, dragging the officer for about 30 to 40 feet.

After Urtasun was thrown from the vehicle, it crashed head-on into an unoccupied Riverside police cruiser that was parked in the school lot's exit way.

Belton and a passenger, 39-year-old Bonnie Manning, were both arrested at the scene without incident. Officers recovered an undisclosed amount of suspected marijuana that was in plain view inside the vehicle.

Belton and Manning both face numerous charges, including aggravated assault on a police officer, criminal attempted manslaughter and assault by auto. It wasn't known Saturday if either one had retained an attorney.

Urtasun is a 16-year veteran of the Riverside force.