Three teenagers in a stolen car took police on a wild chase through Westport before ultimately being stopped by a police canine, who took matters into his own paws.
Westport Police Cpl. Kevin Smith spotted a vehicle speeding on Post Road East at approximately 3:15 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 24. He proceeded to follow the vehicle, where he found it stopped in the middle of the Long Lots Road intersection with no tail lights.
Smith caught up to the suspect vehicle at a red light on Roseville Road before it made a quick wide turn onto the roadway in the wrong lane of traffic. A computer check of the vehicle’s registration showed that it had been reported stolen in Darien on Sept. 19.
When he attempted to initiate a motor vehicle stop, Smith said that the vehicle failed to slow down and instead took him on a pursuit, north on Roseville Road before turning east on Cross Highway.
The high-speed pursuit made its way into Fairfield, where local police laid stop sticks, which the suspect vehicle struck on Congress Street. The chase continued onto Black Rock Turnpike and Tanglewood Lane before the driver - later identified as 18-year-old Jomar Perez, of Waterbury - crashed into a utility pole and fled on foot.
Perez ran for a short while before Smith and Westport Police canine Koda tracked he and his two 15-year-old passengers down. The two 15-year-olds, also from Waterbury, were transported to St. Vincent’s Hospital for minor injuries. Each was issued a summons charging them with larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny.
Perez was also hospitalized at St. Vincent’s after he suffered a canine bite from Koda during his attempted escape. The subsequent search of the stolen vehicle found two loaded 9 mm handgun magazines in the driver's side door pocket. Several debit and credit cards and car keys to other vehicles were found during the search. The surrounding area and vehicle was searched, but no firearm has been recovered.
After being released from the hospital, Perez was arrested and charged with:
- Two counts of risk of injury;
- interfering with a police officer;
- motor vehicle theft;
- conspiracy to commit larceny;
- disobeying the signal of a police officer;
- attempted escape;
- reckless driving, and;
- operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license.
Following his arraignment on Monday in Norwalk Court, Perez was held in lieu of $25,000 bond.
"Fairfield County has been plagued by car thefts and motor vehicle burglaries for the last year. Despite multiple warnings, we continue to be a target rich environment because residents leave their cars unlocked with their car keys and other valuables inside," according to the Westport Police Department.
"We urge residents to remove their belongings and secure their vehicles properly at night. Multiple firearms have been recovered from suspects in these crimes and from within the stolen motor vehicles. Residents should not confront any suspects themselves. They are asked to notify the police department immediately if they observe suspicious vehicles and activity in their neighborhoods."
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