Acting Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp announces that the Honorable Mary Gibbons Whipple, J.S.C. sentenced Vambah Sheriff, 27 years old, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to 14 years in State Prison with 5 years of parole ineligibility for eluding.
On April 22, 2013, a jury found the defendant guilty of Second Degree Eluding.
On February 3, 2011 at 11:40 a.m., Florham Park Police Officer Brian Mensing was on routine patrol on Route 24 East when he randomly ran the license plate of defendant’s car via his Mobile Data Terminal. An alert came back indicating defendant’s New Jersey driving privileges were suspended and Officer Mensing effectuated a motor vehicle stop after positively identifying defendant. After defendant’s vehicle came to a stop, but before the Officer could approach it, defendant sped away on Route 24, reaching speeds of around 80-90 mph. The pursuit was then terminated by Florham Park Police. Defendant was arrested later that evening in Elizabeth.
Judge Whipple sentenced the defendant to 14 years in New Jersey State Prison with 5 years of parole ineligibility. He is required to serve this sentence consecutive to a State Prison term presently being served out of Essex County.
Acting Prosecutor Knapp acknowledged the efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Joseph J. D’Onofrio, Jr. who tried the case before a jury. The Acting Prosecutor also stated the following:
“The crime of Eluding a Police Officer under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2.(b) is extremely serious. Any individual who knowingly flees or attempts to elude any police or law enforcement officer after having received a signal from such officer to bring the vehicle to a full stop, as was done here, commits a crime of the third degree. However, in this case, it rose to the level of a second degree as the flight created a risk of death or injury. In this case, the defendant attempted and successfully eluded Florham Park Police Officers on a crowded highway at extremely high speeds, putting both the officer and the public at large in danger.”
“The sentence imposed by the Court is appropriate and justified based upon the seriousness of the offense and the threat to the public.”
Acting Morris County Prosecutor Knapp thanks Police Chief Patrick Montuore and the Florham Park Police Department, the City of Elizabeth Police Department and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office General Investigations Unit for the efforts resulting in today’s sentence.
Any inquiries can be directed to First Assistant Morris County Prosecutor/SDAG Thomas Zelante at 973-285-6252 or [email protected].