SPRING LAKE HEIGHTS — A Jersey Shore borough councilman who said he was going to quit after police said they found drug paraphernalia in his car has changed his mind.

Spring Lake Heights Borough Administrator John Barrett told the Asbury Park Press that Robert Merriken told him verbally on Thursday he was stepping down. Barrett said he told the Republican to put it in writing. Barrett, meanwhile began the process of replacing Merriken on the town council.

According the report, Merriken contacted the newspaper later on Thursday and said he was not going to quit.

Merriken, 68, told the newspaper that the needle found in his car during a traffic stop on Wednesday afternoon in Neptune City did not belong to him. He was traveling with passenger Cherice M. Hernandez, 39, a friend of his son. His son died in 2013.

Citing municipal court records, Merriken also faces charges of failure to observe traffic control device, failure to give proper signal, failure to wear seat belt, and unsafe operation of a vehicle.

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