FORT LEE — A California trucker was charged with trying to avoid a toll at the George Washington Bridge early this morning, after a Port Authority Police officer spotted him covering his license plates with duct tape, then pulled him over after he drove through an E-ZPass lane without a transponder, a department spokesman said.
Ashwin Kumar, 28, of Pittburgh, Calif., was charged with theft of services and tampering with public documents, meaning his license plates, said Al Della Fave, a PAPD spokesman. The cash toll for six-axle vehicles, including tractor trailers, is $78 at all times.
Kumar and his shipment of fruits and vegetables was allowed to proceed over the bridge after paying the toll and being found not to have any outstanding warrants, Della Fave said.
Kumar was not yet scheduled for an appearance in Fort Lee Municipal Court, Della Fave said. He said police could not determine whether Kumar owed any additional tolls because the E-ZPass service center was closed on Sunday.
Kumar could not be reached for comment.
It was 5:25 a.m., and officer George Kwiecinski was in the parking lot of the bridge administration building in Fort Lee, which overlooks the toll plaza and surrounding area, Della Fave said. Through the dim light of daybreak, Della Fave said the officer noticed a tractor trailer parked on a shoulder just short of the toll plaza.
“From the Police Parking lot, you can see the approach ramp of the upper level,
so he thinks, ‘I’m going to go down and help this guy out,’” Della Fave said. “But then he sees the driver, who’s crouched down at his license place with duct tape.”
He said the officer followed immediately behind the truck, and pulled it over just past the toll plaza, before it drove onto the span.
“I guess he thought nobody was around at that time,” Della Fave said.Source