Man creates black ice to mask drunken driving crash, police say

SPARTA, N.J. — A man poured water onto a freezing road to try to fool officers into thinking the cause of his drunken car crash was black ice, police say.

Twenty-year-old Bryan Byers, of Sparta, was arrested Saturday and charged with drunken driving and other offenses.

Authorities say he hit a guardrail after running a stop sign in a BMW early that morning.

Shortly after the crash, police said, 20-year-old Alexander Zambenedetti, a friend of Byers’, showed up in his own car. The two men then dumped 5-gallon buckets of water onto the road to create black ice, police said.

Police said an officer on patrol in the area saw Byers walking in the road and Zambenedetti sitting in his vehicle with two buckets of ice in the back seat at around 2:45 a.m. Police say Zambenedetti wasn’t wearing a shirt despite a wind chill of 15 below zero. He was also charged with drunken driving.

Authorities say Byers confessed to the plan. They noticed skid marks were visible under the thin layer of ice at the intersection.

Byers could not be reached for comment. Zambenedetti didn’t immediately return a call Tuesday from The Associated Press.

Both men are due in court Thursday.

Police said it took a half-ton of salt to melt the ice and make the road passable.

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