After a run-in with borough police, Haddonfield Commissioner Jeff Kasko has an upcoming superior court appearance. But on Tuesday, it was business as usual in the municipal work session.
By Matt Skoufalos | February 20, 2019
Despite a pending criminal case hanging over one of the members of its three-person commission, the Haddonfield municipal government pushed ahead with a low-key work session Tuesday night.
As first reported last week by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Commissioner Jeff Kasko faces three criminal charges for a February 13 incident in which he allegedly struck a police officer with his car.
According to the police report, the commissioner was allegedly attempting to avoid a process server at his home, and struck her car as he drove off.
Haddonfield Patrolman Joni Frangieh was dispatched to the scene shortly thereafter in response to a 9-1-1 call for a reported hit-and-run.
Police said Frangieh was standing on the driveway apron when Kasko returned. The commissioner allegedly ignored Frangieh’s commands to stop, and clipped the officer with the sideview mirror of his car while trying to maneuver around him.
Frangieh was not seriously injured, and Kasko was arrested at the scene, said Haddonfield Police Chief Jason Cutler.
The commissioner faces charges of criminal mischief, assault with a vehicle, and aggravated assault for striking an officer. Those charges were filed with guidance from a special unit of the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Cutler said.
He described Kasko as “polite, calm, and cooperative” at booking, but said the circumstances were uncomfortable for everyone involved.
Cutler, the newly appointed borough police chief, has had a 10-year working relationship with the commissioner.
Frangieh is a new recruit, still within the probationary period of his hire.
And Kasko, the former borough mayor, is “under a very personal, very stressful situation,” Cutler said.
“I don’t think his intent was to hurt Joni, but it doesn’t matter,” the chief said. “I don’t think this is indicative of his normal character; unfortunately, he made a poor decision.”
The incident surfaced at the top of Tuesday’s municipal government session when a resident asked “how the commissioners and the town can maintain the best possible reputation” amid the incident.
The body offered little in the way of comment.
“The individual in question is innocent until proven guilty,” said borough solicitor Mario Iavicoli. “There’s no mechanism to do anything at this juncture; it has to run its course.”
“As you can see, the three of us are here tonight,” said Haddonfield Mayor Neal Rochford. “Government runs on.”
Kasko has a superior court hearing scheduled for March 20.
NJ Pen is free thanks to regular, small contributions. Please support our work.
Get e-mails, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or try Direct Dispatch, our new text service.