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Arson, Assault Charges Filed In Hasbrouck Heights Hotel Room Fire, Brawl

Milton Hinton, Derrick Ellis
Milton Hinton, Derrick Ellis Photo Credit: MUGSHOTS: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. -- A grand jury in Hackensack returned an indictment against two East Orange men who authorities said trashed a Hasbrouck Heights hotel room, set a small fire in the bathroom and broke a window, forcing police to ram their way in before dawn.

At one point, Derrick Ellis of East Orange and Milton Hinton of Montclair were fighting each other during the Feb. 16 incident at the Hasbrouck Heights Hilton, authorities said -- then they turned on police, the indictment alleges.

Besides three counts each of arson causing more than $2,000 worth of damage, Ellis and Hinton are charged with injuring Bergen County Sheriff's Officer Alex Echevarria's hand and threatening Hasbrouck Heights Police Officer Dominick D'Amico.

Officers responding to the 4:47 a.m. call of a disturbance at the Hilton tried to get in after smelling smoke, but the door was locked and a desk and dresser were against it, Detective Lt. Michael Colaneri told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at the time.

Members of the Bergen County Sheriff's SWAT team were en route when the occupants broke a window, he said.

Afraid that the man who broke it might jump, officers rammed their way into the room and grabbed both.

A toilet paper fire in the bathroom was quickly snuffed.

“The room was destroyed," Colaneri said.

Ellis was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center with injuries sustained in the fracas. He was later taken to the Bergen County Jail, where he remained until posting $35,000 bail on March 5.

Hinton spent two months in the county jail before being released on $40,000 bail in April.

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