YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: “Do you want a ride?” an elderly female passenger with bright red hair asked three Westwood Regional High School girls as they walked home. They kept going, but three boys behind them hopped into the car, Washington Township police said today. Then this morning, another student said a man driving a similar car called her a “nasty girl” for not responding to him.
The incidents have raised enough concerns for police and school personnel to keep an eye on children and for administrators to urge parents to tell their kids to be wary of strangers.
The first report to police came around 3:30 yesterday afternoon, when three girls walking home from the high school said they were approached on Ridgewood Road near the Westwood border by a silver or gray 4-door vehicle driven by a man they couldn’t see.
A woman in the passenger seat, whom they described as red-haired with a “very wrinkly face” asked them whether they wanted a ride, they said.
The girls told police they continued walking but that three boys who were behind them got into the car.
At 7:40 this morning, a girl walking to school on the west side of Washington Township said she spotted a silver or gray 4-door vehicle with several dents on the side near the corner of Pascack Road and Ridgewood Road.
The driver asked if she’d done her homework. When she didn’t answer, she said, he called her a “nasty girl” and drove off.
She described him as having salt-and-pepper hair and a 5 o’clock shadow, wearing a dirty white t-shirt.
A crossing guard nearby didn’t see the incident, police said.
Administrators and staff at area school districts are on alert as a result of the reports and were prepared to be particularly diligent today.
Police asked that anyone with information about the incidents call: (201) 664-1140.
Meantime, Rory McCourt, the director of Elementary Education for the Westwood Regional School District, urged parents to “speak to your children about the importance of staying safe when walking home from school and never talking to strangers under any circumstances.”