MIDDLETOWN, N.J. – When a bride and groom pledged their vows here Sunday, little did they know their time together would begin for worse, not for better.
Police arrested two people Sunday night when a wedding reception at the Jacques Reception Hall on Palmer Avenue turned into a near riot, after about 300 attendants became involved in a donnybrook in which there was fighting, yelling, screaming and people just generally behaving badly, police said.
The reception was 7½ hours into its planned nine hours when the alcohol-fueled hostilities erupted about 10:30 p.m., said Detective Lt. Stephen F. Dollinger, spokesman for Middletown police.
Middletown Police Sgt. First Class William Colangelo and Patrolman Frank Mazza were off-duty, working the reception as security, something the reception hall provides for all of its events as a routine safety measure, Dollinger said.
The officers present attempted to break up the fight when the fracas swelled to about 80 attendants who were pushing and shoving each other while screaming and yelling, Dollinger said. The officers radioed for additional police officers, who attempted to disperse the crowd, Dollinger said.
As officers from Middletown were attempting to gain control, the size of the melee expanded into the hundreds, all of them guests of the bride and groom. Police from Keansburg, Holmdel and Hazlet came to help, Dollinger said.
Police decided to shut down the reception and have everyone leave the area, and they dispersed the crowd in about 45 minutes, he said.
Jonathan Accardi, 32, of Oceanside, New York, was charged with obstructing the administration of law and disorderly conduct. Another person, Emily George, 23, from Haledon was charged with disorderly conduct. Both were taken to police headquarters in Middletown where they were processed and released pending a court date.
There was no indication that the bride and groom were involved in the initial altercation.