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Wrong-Way Driver Causes Fiery Head-On Crash, Prosecutor Says

Newark resident faces a number of charges from the early Wednesday morning accident in Elmwood Park.

A Newark man was intoxicated when he drove the wrong way on Route 46, causing a fiery head-on collision and seriously injuring a passenger in the other vehicle early Wednesday morning, the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office said.

Steven Baker, 28, was charged with third-degree assault by auto, fourth-degree driving while suspended and being involved in a serious bodily injury motor vehicle collision. He also received summonses for DWI, driving with suspended and reckless driving.

According to Prosecutor John Molinelli, Baker drove his 2000 Mitsubishi GS westbound in the eastbound lanes of Route 46 and caused a head-on collision with a 1970 Mercury Cougar near the intersection with Henry Street in Elmwood Park at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The Cougar, driven by Harry Halverson III, 25, of Wallington, immediately caught fire and began burning, Molinelli said.

Two Good Samaritans pulled Halverson's passenger, Jessica Wagoner, 25, of Lyndhurst, from the burning vehicle before officers arrived, Molinelli said. Wagoner was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center with serious injuries, Molinelli said. The two drivers suffered minor injuries.

Halverson was also driving with a suspended license, Molinelli said. Halverson was charged with fourth-degree driving while suspended and being involved in a serious bodily injury motor vehicle collision and received a summons for driving while suspended.

Bail was set for Halverson at $2,500 with no 10 percent option and Baker's bail was set at $10,000 with no 10 percent option.

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