A 48-year-old man who stole a Newark Fire Department pickup truck from the scene of a car fire led police on a cross-county pursuit before crashing in Bergen County the Fourth of July, authorities said.
Hector Perez, who is disabled due to having only one eye, was arrested at the scene and was uninjured.
He faces charges of receiving stolen property, burglary, eluding, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose.
Perez apparently hopped behind the wheel of the Ford pickup truck, marked with lights and sirens, from the scene of the blaze at Avon and Peshine avenues around 4:10 p.m., Newark Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara said.
Several local departments assisted Newark police in following the vehicle -- apparently that of Battalion Chief 4 -- along the New Jersey Turnpike before it was spotted by police on local streets in Fairview.
Perez ultimately crashed at 200 Industrial Way in Ridgefield Parka was taken into custody.
“This suspect put not only his own life in danger, but jeopardized the lives of countless drivers and pedestrians citywide and outside of Newark by unlawfully operating a public safety vehicle,” Director O’Hara said.
“I am grateful that he was apprehended before he harmed anyone or himself.”
No injuries were reported and further information was not released.
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