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Crash during police chase of drunk driver sends eight to hospital

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

In a pursuit gone bad, a drunk and drugged driver trying to flee police slammed his car so hard into a van that it hit another car, sending eight people in all to the hospital, including the driver. Today, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli announced charges of aggravated assault, reckless driving and various other counts against John Delaney, 48, of Hillsdale.

This comes at the same time that Molinelli’s investigators are reviewing a police chase that led to the death of a motorcyclist who was thrown from his bike in the carpool approach to the George Washington Bridge.

This past weekend, Leonia police had two chases, one also involving a motorcyclist and another that they broke off after the car they were chasing hit 80 miles an hour on busy Broad Avenue.

Monday night’s pursuit began, Molinelli said, after an unnamed “veteran Englewood police officer” stopped Delaney’s 1999 Nissan Maxima after it ran two red lights on Palisades Avenue in Englewood around 7:15.  As the officer approached the car, it roared off down West Englewood Avenue toward Teaneck.

As he reached the “T” interection, Delaney turned right onto Teaneck Road but lost control of the car, which struck a 1994 Chevy Astro van that stopped at a light in Teaneck Road’s southbound lanes, the prosecutor said. Inside were seven people, ranging in age from 2 to 45, he said.

The impact pushed the van into a 1996 Honda Accord, which had three people inside.

Delaney kept going, driving on the sidewalk before stopping several block away, Molinelli said. Police took him into custody.


Five of the van’s occupants and two in the Honda sustained minor injuries. So did Delaney, who was brought to Englewood Medical Center, where he was found to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs, the prosecutor said.

Charges against him include eluding seven counts each of aggravated assault and assault by auto, as well as reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, driving on the sidewalk, ignoring traffic signals and drunk driving.

Delaney is being held on $150,000 bail at the Bergen County Jail.

“As per protocol, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s [Office‘s] Fatal Accident Investigation Unit, with the assistance of Englewood and Teaneck Police Departments, and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department, is conducting the investigation to ensure all proper Attorney General Guidelines regarding police pursuits were followed,” Molinelli said.

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