Update: Stolen Car Crash Into Utility Pole Closes Route 17, Fleeing Juveniles Captured

The driver and passenger in a stolen Range Rover that hit a utility pole, rolled over and ignited a cluster of flames during a pre-dawn police chase Friday on Route 17 are both 15-year-old juveniles from Newark, authorities said.

The Range Rover cracked the pole and downed lines that ignited a cluster of fires.

The Range Rover cracked the pole and downed lines that ignited a cluster of fires.

Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco

The Range Rover and a silver Porsche Panamera were both stolen from the garage of a Carlton Road residence in Wyckoff after the thieves broke into the home and found the keys shortly before 4:30 a.m. Dec. 8, Wyckoff Police Lt. Joseph Soto said.

Paramus police who heard an alert from their Wyckoff colleagues spotted both vehicles minutes later heading east on Route 4, with the Porsche in front, Paramus Police Chief Robert Guidetti said.

Both drivers refused to stop, then split up, Guidetti said.

His officers pursued the Range Rover, first along the Garden State Parkway and then northbound on Route 17.

The driver tried to exit at the East Allendale Road exit in Saddle River minutes later but couldn't handle the turn.

The Range Rover slammed into a utility pole, cracking it, then rolled over.

The two juveniles bailed out and ran, leaving fires in three places and utility lines strewn across the highway, Saddle River Police Chief Jason Cosgriff said.

It was the first in a chain reaction of events that included a pedestrian struck and killed up the highway in Ramsey, another crash in Ho-Ho-Kus a short time later and the closure of Route 17 through the morning rush.

SEE: Pedestrian Struck, Killed On Route 17 In Ramsey

Saddle River police were quickly joined in their search for the fleeing juveniles by their colleagues from Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Mahwah, Ramsey and Upper Saddle River and the Bergen County Sheriff's Office, Cosgriff said. K-9 units and a Mahwah police drone assisted in the search, he said.

Both teens were caught a little over four hours later -- one in the area of Pearl Court and the other in the area of Boroline Road. One of them required a brief hospital visit for injuries apparently sustained in the crash, Cosgriff said.

"It was great teamwork by all the agencies," the chief said. "(The thieves) had no way to get away."

They were turned over to Wyckoff police, who signed delinquency complaints charging both with receiving stolen property, burglary, theft, conspiracy and criminal mischief, said Soto of Wyckoff.

They were then sent to the Bergen County Juvenile Detention Center in Teterboro, the lieutenant said.

Detectives are searching for the Porsche and others involved in the thefts, he said.

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