Tour Bus Crash, Fake Prom Dresses, Ex-Student Sues Top Stories of 2012

Here are the top Wayne news stories from the past year.

Homes were burglarized. A police officer nearly died. A mom left her babies at home alone for hours.  Men were killed in two separate automobile accidents.

Those were some of the top stories that happened in Wayne in 2012. Here are summaries and links to those stories.


Policy Enacted to Resolve Conflicts of Interest

The Board of Education approved a new policy prohibiting administrators and supervisors from coaching sports teams or acting as advisors of any district athletic, co-curricular, or extra-curricular program.

The policy means that then-Wayne Hills Athletic Director and embattled football coach Chris Olsen had to choose between doing one job or the other. He chose to coach one more season and defend his state group sectional title. The team lost in the semi-final round of the tournament.


Man Killed in Motor Vehicle Crash

Stephen Saunders, 21 was killed in a motor vehicle crash in February on Parish Drive. Saunders was in the back seat when the car his friend was driving crashed into a tree.


A Belleville man was charged with being under the influence of PCP and disorderly conduct after police found him screaming obscenities in his underwear on French Hill Road.


Nine people were taken to area hospitals after a recycling truck flipped and landed on top of a car at the intersection of Hamburg Turnpike and Alps Road.

The truck hit a station wagon and landed on top of another vehicle. Occupants of that vehicle had to be extracted from the vehicle and were placed on stretchers.


Police discovered that the owner of the former Red Carpet Pageant and Prom Store on Route 23 allegedly faked the theft of dozens of dresses from the store. Patricia Dowling initially reported that the dresses had been stolen, but police discovered video footage of Patricia Dowling putting the dresses into a back room. 

Dozens of young women who ordered dresses for their proms from the business never received them. The attorney general seized the store's assessts and auctioned off the remaining dresses.


More than a Dozen Homes Burglarized

Jewelry and cash were reportedly taken from several homes during the summer. Police initially released the fact that 12 homes were burglarized. Then three more homes were burglarized shortly thereafter

Alleged Burglar Caught in Child’s Playhouse

Ronald Catti was charged with eluding police after authorities from multiple law enforcement agencies chased him through town and found in a child’s playhouse.

Wayne police had Catti under surveillance after naming him a suspect in several burglaries that occurred in town since late April.


Wayne Hills Football Star Arrested Again

Andrew Monaghan, one of the nine Wayne Hills football players charged with aggravated assault stemming from an incident at a party last October, was charged with disorderly conduct. Monaghan reportedly interfered with a police officer who was investigating a noise complaint at the party.


Mother Left Babies Alone for Hours

Dolly Santiago was charged with child endangerment after police found her 8-month-old children alone inside their home in August.

Alleged Car Burglar Found Unconscious on Lawn

A teen was found unconscious on the front lawn of a property after allegedly breaking into vehicles in the neighborhood in August.

Dylan Brothers, 18, of Black Oak Ridge Road, was charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of theft.


Man Killed in Valley Road Accident

A 22-year-old man killed in a two-vehicle crash on Valley Road in September.

Devon Okeefe was traveling on the roadway when his Acura crossed over to the southbound lane and crashed into a BMW. He died from his injuries at the scene.

One of the nine Wayne Hills football players accused of aggravated assault filed a federal lawsuit against several town and education officials seeking at least $15 million in damages for false arrest and violation of his constitutional rights.

Troy Zaffino was one of the Wayne Hills high football players charged with two counts of aggravated assault in November 2011. The players allegedly attacked two Wayne Valley High School students at a Halloween party at a house on Urban Club Road in October. They allegedly left the victims in the street, one of them unconscious.


A tour bus on its way to Manhattan from Toronto overturned on the Interstate 80 exit ramp to Route 46. Twelve people were injured, including eight critically.


Police Officer Bob Franco sustained a severe spinal cord injury when a tree fell on the vehicle he was in during Superstorm Sandy. He steadily recovered in the weeks following the accident.


Attempted Murder Charge Filed Against Man

A Wayne man was charged with attempted murder and possession of heroin in connection with the shooting of a 27-year-old man in Paterson.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.


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