HACKENSACK — The Bergen County Courthouse was shut down Monday afternoon after a drug court defendant kicked a water pipe, leading to flooding that injured two people, including a judge, when they slipped and fell, authorities said.
Benjamin Blohm, 27, of New Milford, was charged with causing a disturbance that caused widespread injury, a second-degree crime, along with criminal mischief, said Richard Moriarty, a spokesman for the county Sheriff’s Office.
Moriarty said he had been asked by a superior not to disclose the identities of the injured people.
Blohm allegedly kicked a pipe at noon in a hallway outside Courtroom 301, on the building’s third floor, after appearing before Superior Court Judge Eugene Austin, Moriarty said. The water seeped down an elevator shaft and flooded three of the building’s four floors, he said, causing a judge and a sheriff’s officer to slip and fall as the building was being evacuated.
The judge was taken to a local hospital but no further information was immediately available about the extent of the injuries. The officer was treated by a physician connected with the sheriff’s office and was sent home.
The building was closed around 2 p.m. out of concern that water spilling down elevator shafts would reach electrical outlets, creating a public safety hazard, Moriarty said.
Blohm was arrested after authorities reviewed surveillance video shot outside Courtroom 301 and saw Blohm kicking a water pipe until it broke.
The flooding caused significant damage to the Prosecutor’s Office on the second floor, Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said. He said the water pipe is next to a water fountain on the third floor.
“I saw the video, and it’s unbelievable — whatever possessed this guy, he just did it and walked away,” Molinelli said.
Blohm was being booked into the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack late Monday after his bail was set at $50,000. It was not immediately clear why he appeared in drug court on Monday.
The flooding forced the temporary relocation of 19 Prosecutor’s Office employees from Molinelli’s office, brought down ceiling tiles and damaged the library in the office, Molinelli said.Source