Northwest New Jersey’s biggest stories of 2016

This year was a big one internationally, with the Clinton emails, Brexit and the U.S. election. But what were the biggest stories in Northwest New Jersey?

Below are some of the most viewed stories on the WRNJ website and Facebook page in 2016.

This year’s top story, with more than 100,000 views, was the fatal shooting that occurred inside a Panther Valley home in March. Gage Theard, 24, of Milton, FL was distraught over a broken engagement and attacked his ex-fiancée before asking her to kill him. He was shot twice and she was justified in using deadly force. RNJ was the first to bring you this breaking story.

Fire rips through a barn at Donaldson Farms in September, was another significant story. The destructive fire that destroyed the barn, which contained bales of hay, along with pallets stacked with cardboard used to form boxes for packaging and equipment, was caused when bales of straw were ignited by sparks from a grinder being used to cut bolts off a horse trailer.

In August, N.J. State police seize $2.88M worth of heroin during a traffic stop on I-78 in Greenwich Twp., Warren County. Oscar Franco, 58, of Chula Vista, CA was indicted earlier this month for allegedly possessing 36 kilos of raw heroin.

Also in August, N.J. State Police seized $5.47M worth of heroin and cocaine during a traffic stop on I-78 in Greenwich Twp., Warren County. Henry Cruz-Ventura, 39, of Los Angeles, CA was arrested on drug charges.

Another huge drug bust occurred in August. Mansfield Twp. police collar the largest drug bust in the history of Mansfield Township. Police seized over one kilogram of cocaine, 831 grams of ecstasy, 689 grams of heroin and under 50 grams of marijuana. The approximate street value of the narcotics is $160,000.00. Three people from Allentown, PA were arrested.

In September, William T. Carter, 32, of Somerville, NJ was arrested in Hackettstown on firearm and drug charges after a three month undercover operation into drug distribution and gun trafficking.

There was also the story of a Mount Olive woman who ran house of prostitution. In October, Police charged Melissa Bishop, 42, with promoting prostitution, running house of prostitution, and possession of heroin.

In September, A Hackettstown school official investigating suspicious people in a vehicle on high school property, had to jump on the hood of the car after the alleged drunk driver drove the car towards the official. Four people were charged in this incident.

In November, Oral surgeon Dr. John Vecchione, whose Budd Lake office has been linked to 15 cases of bacterial endocarditis, agreed to the continued suspension of his license pending final disposition of the State’s allegations that his failure to follow infection control protocols exposed his patients to the risk of contracting the serious heart infection. Vecchione’s license was first suspended in September.

Coxsackie virus spread throughout the state in the beginning of the school year. It also spread to Hackettstown High School and caused the postponement of the Hackettstown vs Mount Olive football game.

And finally, Keturah Orji, a Mount Olive high School graduate, finished fourth in the final round at Rio Olympics. Orji set an American record in the woman’s triple jump.

For more Northwest Jersey’s News, tune into 92.7FM, 104.7FM, 1510AM, or on the TuneIn app.

By: Jay Edwards
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