DUI driver had loaded handgun in car

LOPATCONG TOWNSHIP, NJ (Warren County) – Lopatcong police charged a man who was allegedly driving under the influence and had a loaded gun in his car Sunday morning.

James A. Hart, 55, of  Phillipsburg, NJ was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and being under the influence, driving while intoxicated, failure to maintain lanes, careless driving and failure to wear a seatbelt.

At 1:15 a.m., township police conducted a motor vehicle stop with a vehicle on Route 646 just into Harmony Township after the officer observed the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed and failing to maintain its lane of travel, police said.

Upon stopping the vehicle, the officer spoke with Hart and allegedly detected the odor of burnt marijuana. He also appeared to be under the influence of drugs at the time of the stop, police said.

The officer later conducted a search of the vehicle and located a loaded .380 handgun in a bag on the front passenger seat. Hart did not possess a permit to carry a handgun, police said.

Hart is currently lodged in the Warren County Jail, while he awaits a hearing.

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook