New Jersey police officer stops alleged drunk driver from plowing into Memorial Day parade

ROCHELLE PARK, N.J. (WABC) -- A quick thinking police officer in New Jersey helped avert tragedy by stopping an accused drunk driver.

The officer used his cruiser as a blockade, just a half-block away from a Memorial Day parade.

The drunk driving suspect was headed right for the parade route and a line of spectactors in Rochelle Park.

The driver had already ignored police warnings to stop, until the officer put his car right in front of hers.

48-year old Sharon Burke of Rochelle Parkalmost drove her car into the active parade right on West Passaic Street, authorities say.

If it were not for one very brave and persistent officer Burke could have mowed down cops and parade participants.

"If she had continued in her travels, there's no doubt that she would have struck either an officer that was directing traffic, a pedestrian, or the parade itself," said Officer James Lavigna.

He used his police cruiser to block Burke's car. After the minor collision, Burke got out of her car and the cop became suspicious.

"There was an empty bottle of vodka on the passenger seat and after removing the driver from the vehicle and conducting a few sobriety tests we were able to determine that she was under the influence of alcohol," said Lavigna.

The annual Memorial Day parade honors heroes of war and was crowded with kids, participants and honored guests, spectators paying tribute to the brave men and women who served their country.

But police say Burke's way of celebrating could have ruined the holiday if it weren't for an officer being alert.

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