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DV Pilot police & fire

Reckless Driver Drank 'Catnip Cocktail,' Wayne Police Say

Joseph Donofrio
Joseph Donofrio Photo Credit: MUGSHOT: Courtesy WAYNE PD

WAYNE, N.J. -- A driver was under the influence of a "catnip cocktail" when he suddenly jerked his car across several lanes of Route 23, said police who arrested him.

Sgt. James Clark saw the driver of the 2018 Toyota Camry make the "extremely dangerous maneuver" off the southbound highway and then speed recklessly up Packanack Lake Road past his patrol car just before 11 p.m. Saturday, Detective Capt. Laurence Martin said.

Clark stopped the driver -- Joseph Donofrio, 35, of Westchester County -- who Martin said had "slurred speech and jerky hand movements" while claiming he was headed to Chilton Memorial Hospital.

Officers Skylar Cauceglia and Ken Hart assisted and found an unidentified passenger holding a bottle of the cocktail, which was labeled "NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION,” Martin said.

It's actually a prescription anxiety medication/mood enhancer for dogs and cats, he said.

Donofrio, of Valhalla, NY, "admitted making the passenger hold the plastic bottle as he was being stopped and admitted drinking the substance," the captain said.

He wasn't sure how much or when, Martin said.

After failing a field sobriety test, Donofrio was arrested on DWI and inhaling toxic chemical charges. He also received traffic summonses and was released to a responsible adult pending a court hearing.

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