Couple charged in bridge standoff

20080329_dn_g1brdg29w
Traffic in both directions stopped on the Walt Whitman Bridge during Thursday's three-hour standoff.

Numerous charges have been filed against the man and woman who held a 3-hour standoff with police in the middle of the Walt Whitman Bridge during Thursday afternoon's rush hour.

Johnny L. Reed and Monica Hayman were undergoing psychological evaluations yesterday at a Camden hospital.

State Police Sgt. Stephen Jones said Reed, 35, of Winslow Township, was being held on $70,000 bail, charged with criminal restraint, aggravated assault and terroristic threats for threatening to blow up the bridge on Thursday.

Hayman, 31, of the same address, was charged with obstruction, resisting arrest, conspiracy to commit criminal restraint and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, Jones said. Her bail was $65,000 with a 10 percent option.

The couple's child, Johnny Reed V, age 1, was taken to Cooper University Hospital in Camden to be examined as a precaution. He was to be turned over to the New Jersey Department of Youth and Family Services, authorities said.

No one was injured in the three-hour standoff, which began about 4:20 p.m. Thursday, when Reed got out of the SUV on the bridge with a baseball bat in one hand and 1-year-old Johnny in the other.

Television footage of the standoff showed a white Cadillac Escalade with its rear hazard lights flashing at a standstill in the westbound lanes of the bridge.

Both lanes of the bridge were closed during rush hour, and long lines of cars backed up in both directions. Officials began allowing cars to make U-turns to get off the bridge.

Shortly before the standoff ended at about 7:30 p.m., an armored police vehicle pulled up bumper-to-bumper facing the SUV with SWAT officers positioned behind it.

The man and the woman, carrying the child in her arms, exited the SUV and walked a few feet behind it, along the barrier dividing the westbound and eastbound lanes of traffic.

After a short time, both the man and the woman lay down on the ground, and SWAT team members moved in.

Delaware River Port Authority spokesman Ed Kasuba said police negotiators managed "to peacefully convince the driver of the SUV to just give it up."

A toy gun and the bat were recovered from the SUV, said state police Sgt. Stephen Jones. *