2012-07-05 / Front Page
Area man faces assault charge
OLD BRIDGE — A good Samaritan got more than she bargained for after stopping her car to help a man on the shoulder of Route 34 early in the morning on June 14.
According to police, at about 5:15 a.m., the 60-year-old woman left a convenience store on Route 34 and began traveling south. The woman had several containers of hot coffee in her vehicle. As she was driving south, the woman reportedly noticed a white male standing naked on the northbound side of the highway. Thinking the man might be a patient at a nearby facility for older adults, the woman turned her car around and stopped to help him.
According to her statement to police, after she rolled down her window to speak to the man, he produced a large knife that had been hidden behind his back and began slashing at the driver. The woman jumped across the car’s center console, sending the containers of coffee flying. She started kicking at the suspect from the passenger side while he attempted to push down the driver’s window and get into the car. The car stalled as the driver fumbled with her cell phone and screamed for police, according to the information provided.
When the man let up momentarily and asked the driver if she had a gun, she told him the police were coming, and he turned and walked away.
By that time, another passerby had stopped after seeing the woman’s car parked at the side of the road, but when the woman told that individual about the man and his knife, the driver jumped back in his vehicle and sped off.
When police arrived, they found Joseph Braco, 56, of the Matawan section of Old Bridge, farther down the highway. His shorts were lying on the road’s shoulder, police said.
Braco was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and lewdness.
Judge James Weber set bail at $75,000. Braco was unable to immediately post bail, and he was transported to the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick.