New Jersey woman charged with falsely telling police she had coronavirus

New Jersey woman charged with falsely telling police she had coronavirus
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A New Jersey woman was charged with falsely telling police that she had coronavirus and attempting to pass it to officers, police said Tuesday.

Lea Piazza, 28, purposefully coughed and breathed on police as they processed her arrest on March 12. Police arrested her after she was involved in a one-car crash while allegedly driving while intoxicated, Hanover Township Police Capt. Dave White told The Hill in a statement.

White said that Piazza became belligerent while being questioned by officers on the scene and started breathing on one officer even though he ordered her to stop. 

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At the station, she continued before reportedly saying, “Oh by the way, I have the coronavirus and now so do you.”

Piazza said her boyfriend from New York had the virus and had been hospitalized, according to NJ.com.

The three officers who had interacted with her during the arrest were sent to self-quarantine, as suggested by health officials. But an investigation revealed that her story was “100 % false,” according to White.

The alleged boyfriend said he had been on one date with Piazza and had been in the hospital for a tooth-related issue, according to NJ.com.

The woman was charged with DWI, careless driving, reckless driving, refusal to take a breath test and false public alarm, because of her coronavirus claims. She reportedly called the police to apologize the next day.

“We’re not taking this stuff lightly,” White said, according to NJ.com. "So if anything this sets an example. Don’t screw around.”

New Jersey has confirmed 267 cases and three deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the state health department. The state has ordered the closure of bars and restaurants to in-person diners amid fears of the spreading virus. 

Updated at 11:07 a.m.