Sparta Township police received a number of 911 calls about an erratic driver on Route 15. A Sparta officer then decided to position his patrol vehicle on the jughandle near railroad tracks at mile-marker 14 on the highway so that he could locate the suspect’s car.
The officer saw a silver 2006 Toyota Sequoia drive toward his location and park behind the patrol car. When another motorist pointed out that the parked car was the one that had been driving erratically, the officer approached the suspect.
The suspect then allegedly accelerated his vehicle and drove toward the officer. The officer dove out of the way and hit the pavement hard. The officer suffered injuries to his back, neck, and shoulder as a result of the fall. The officer was later taken to Newton Medical Center, where he received medical treatment.
After blowing past the officer, the suspect allegedly sideswiped the patrol car and then fled the scene at a high rate of speed. At some point during the getaway, the suspect allegedly ran a red light and barely avoided a collision with another car in the intersection.
The suspect reportedly traveled south on Lafayette Road and then fled onto Skyview Drive. The officer investigated and found a Toyota with damage to the front passenger’s side at a residence on Skyview Drive.
The officer approached the homeowner, who was later identified as the 53-year-old father of the suspect. According to police, the father was uncooperative and denied the officer’s request to enter the home. Police were eventually able to gain access to the residence after obtaining a search warrant.
Although officers instructed the father to remain outside during the search, he reportedly tried to reenter the house. When police attempted to place him under arrest, he allegedly became violent and resisted arrest.
During the search of the residence, police officers allegedly found the son hiding in a closet. According to police, the suspect was highly intoxicated at the time and fought with police when they arrested him.
The 23-year-old suspect, who lives in Sparta, has been charged with second degree eluding police, third degree aggravated assault by auto, and fourth degree resisting arrest. He also faces DWI charges, as well as citations for several other traffic violations.
The suspect was taken to the Sussex County Jail, where he was being held in lieu of $78,500 bail.
According to police, additional charges against both suspects could be pending.
For additional information about this case, read the NJ.com article entitled “Man Tried to Run Down Cop with Car, Hid in Closet, Police Say.”