Fairfield, NJ

Fairfield, NJ: Assault by Auto and DUI for "Roselle Disposal" Driver Who Overturned Garbage Truck on Rt. 46 Overpass

Carolyne Volpe Curley / West Essex Now

Fairfield Fire Department
“It appears that the garbage truck, which is owned by Roselle Disposal of Fairfield, had just exited onto the Gately Overpass from Route 46 West, when Thompson lost control and the vehicle flipped on its side into the oncoming lane. Thankfully, no vehicles were coming in the opposite lane as I am relatively sure it would have resulted in a fatality”
~ Fairfield Police Chief Anthony Manna

Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022

This morning, Fairfield Police Chief Anthony Manna announced the arrest of "Roselle Disposal" driver Robert Thompson, of Elmwood Park, in connection with an overturned dump truck and fluid spill that shut down the Gately Overpass over Route 46 for three hours.


Multiple calls came into the Fairfield Police station reporting that a garbage truck had overturned on the Gately Overpass.

  • Fairfield Corporal Jeffrey Dean arrived first to the scene and confirmed a garbage truck was on its side while the driver, Thompson, along with two other passengers were getting out of the truck.
  • The truck is owned by Roselle Disposal in Fairfield.
  • Reportedly Thompson has just driven the truck off of Route 46 West onto the Gately Overpass when he lost control of it, which flipped it onto its side into the oncoming lane.


Due to construction over Route 46 at the closed Hollywood Avenue Overpass, the Gately Overpass has received more travel than normal.


At the scene, West Essex First Aid Squad members along with Atlantic Healthcare EMS evaluated the garbage truck passengers.

  • The individuals received minor injuries, including a lacerated hand, and refused any further medical attention by 5pm.

Clean Up

The Fairfield Fire Department worked using Speedy Dry to clean up the crash by absorbing the hydraulic oil that was left on the roadway.

  • Fire Department members remained at the scene until the garbage truck was uprighted and removed.


  • Gately Overpass was reopened.


While Thompson was responding to Dean’s questions, he reportedly displayed signs and symptoms consistent with someone who is under the influence:

  • Bloodshot, watery eyes
  • Odor of alcohol on his breath
  • Slurred speech

As a result, Dean and the other responding officers conducted field sobriety tests.

  • Additionally, while clearing the crash scene, officers reportedly found an open container of an alcoholic beverage.


Based on the evidence, Thompson, who possessed a commercial driver's license, was arrested and transported to police headquarters for breath testing.

  • While at headquarters, Thompson apparently refused to provide samples of his breath.


Robert Thompson, 52, of Elmwood Park, has been charged with the following:

  • Assault by auto
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving under the influence as a commercial driver
  • Refusal to submit to a breath test
  • Refusal to submit to a breath test as a commercial driver
  • A variety of other motor vehicle summonses

Thompson was released on his own recognizance and is expected to have an initial hearing in the Essex County Superior Court on March 3, 2022.


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For further information:

Fairfield Police Department
Anthony G. Manna, Police Chief
230 Fairfield Road, Fairfield NJ 07004

Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department
Andrew Williams, Fire Chief
51 Plymouth Street, Fairfield, NJ 07004

West Essex First Aid Squad
David Black, Squad Captain
Peter Nancoz, Squad President
642 Bloomfield Avenue West Caldwell, NJ 07006

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Carolyne Volpe Curley, a Certified New Jersey Press Journalist since 2012, has appeared on nationally televised productions and interviewed by the international press. Volpe Curley publishes West Essex NOW, a hyperlocal news site covering Essex County, NJ. Volpe Curley graduated from Lafayette College in 1986, with a BA in both English and Government, and a minor in Women Studies and Religion.

Essex County, NJ

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