Hurricane Sandy brought out the best in some people, and also the worst.
On Oct. 31 around 2 p.m., a fistfight broke out in front of the main entrance of the Holmdel A&P between a 37-year old Holmdel man and a 22-year old Manasquan driver.
It was just two days after the superstorm blew though and many were without power. The parking lot at A&P -- one of the few supermarkets open -- was a very busy place with people buying water and essentials.
According to the Holmdel victim's statement to Det. Eric Hernando of the Holmdel Police, he was in the parking lot when a driver later identified as Patrick D. Campbell, a 6'3", 220-lb student from Manasquan, was seen outside his car, yelling and cursing at a woman who was in a car with three kids between the ages of 6 to 13. He said he saw Campbell throw a water bottle at the woman's car before getting back into his silver Nissan.
The Holmdel man asked the young man why he was picking on a woman.
Campbell got out of his car and assaulted the Holmdel man, punching him in the head and face two or three times, according to the victim's statement to police. The two wrestled to the ground until the girlfriend intervened. She grabbed her boyfriend and they took off in the car, he said.
Meanwhile, Holmdel Police had arrived on the scene and within 10 minutes police patrols, aided by witnesses who reported Campbell's license plate, caught up with Campbell's Nissan at Route South near Middletown. Campbell was transported by Sgt. Jeff Ackerson to the A&P where he was put under arrest.
According to Det. Hernando, Campbell continually interrupted the officer, using derogatory language, and demanded to know who assaulted him.
At headquarters, he was charged with assault, disorderly conduct, harassment and criminal mischief with damage (an indictable offense.) Police could not fingerprint or photograph him due to lack of power at the station. He was released pending a court date.
The Holmdel man had minor cuts and abrasions to his face, knee and elbow, and pain on the right side of his head, but declined medical attention.
According to a statement by the 44-year old mother from Middletown who had her children in the car, the incident began when Campbell allegedly raced his car through the parking lot and nearly hit a woman in the crosswalk before slamming on the brakes.
The Middletown woman honked her horn, which prompted Campbell to jump out of his car and shout at her from between the two vehicles, she said. After hopping in the car, she said he returned again to spit at her car and throw the water bottle. Her car bumper was damaged to the tune of about $500 by the water bottle, or perhaps by a kick during the brawl that ensued.
Two other witnesses came forwards and corroborated their accounts.
The A&P's video surveillance system was down due to the power outage, but the 12- and 13-year olds in the car used their cellphones to capture a portion of the commotion on their cellphones, which they later emailed to police.