EXCLUSIVE : The registration for the family car driven by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s wife was expired when a local police officer ran a check on it last weekend, two separate law enforcement sources told CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM .
Mary Pat & Gov. Chris Christie
The officer was parked in his cruiser Saturday night randomly running license plates of passing cars when the vehicle rolled by “with a tag that had expired in January,” a law enforcement officer with direct knowledge of the incident told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
The patrolman “was in a fixed position and traffic was very heavy, so he couldn’t pull out,” another law enforcement officer told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “Had it been more serious, he would have pursued her.
“When you put the hook out there, you’re looking for fictitious plates, stolen cars, expired inspection stickers — that kind of thing.
“He didn’t even know who she was [until someone who knew the vehicle told him],” the officer told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
NOTE : Certain identifiers have been withheld from this story, out of legitimate safety and security concerns.
The First Lady could say she didn’t know the vehicle wasn’t registered.
Judges, elected government officials, and undercover detectives are among those New Jersey motorists whose registration information becomes part of a “tracking” system. It alerts state authorities whenever someone has requested a check on a vehicle.
“It’s a way of protecting people from any possible harm from someone who might be trying to find an address,” a high-ranking law enforcement official told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
The trouble is: People who are in “tracking” don’t get registration renewals in the mail from motor vehicles officials. They need to stay on top of it themselves.
NJ STATE LAW 39:3-4 Registration of automobiles and motorcycles, application, registration certificates; expiration; issuance; violations; notification. Except as hereinafter provided, every resident of this State and every nonresident whose automobile or motorcycle shall be driven in this State shall, before using such vehicle on the public highways, register the same, and no automobile or motorcycle shall be driven unless so registered.
The minimum fine for driving or parking an unregistered vehicle in the state of New Jersey is $54. It’s unclear whether the governor has squared accounts, either with police or with the Division of Motor Vehicles.
Christie himself was driving an unregistered and uninsured car when he was stopped for speeding in 2005.
State records show police pulled over Christie three times in the mid-80s, once for speeding and once for improper turns, leading to nine points on his license. Two more stops, both for speeding, added eight more points. All told, the former Morris County freeholder’s driving history includes 25 points, 13 stops for moving violations and six accidents, according to an Aug. 28, 2009 article in The Bergen Record .
Christie was involved in two of those crashes after becoming U.S. attorney for New Jersey in 2002. There was also the 2005 stop in Lambertville that didn’t add any points after he pleaded guilty to unsafe operation of a motor vehicle and not having a valid insurance card. The original tickets cited speeding, as well as driving an uninsured and unregistered vehicle.
As governor, Christie has a driver.
Some CLIFFVIEW PILOT readers are recalling a speeding ticket that State Police Supt. Col. Rick Fuentes ordered be given to himself last summer.
A 20-year veteran trooper clocked Fuentes doing 75 miles an hour — 10 mph over the limit — on the Garden State Parkway in Paramus in August.
Fuentes got off without a ticket but contacted the State Police Office of Professional Standards to request a summons, which the Bergen County native back $160, not including the insurance surcharge. He also got a written reprimand.
“He realized he violated the law and took responsibility for it,” one police official said.
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