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NJSP: Fleeing DWI Driver Crashes Into State Police Cruiser During Chase Up, Down Route 80

NJSP Photo Credit: COURTESY: New Jersey State Police

A three-county chase up one side of Route 80 and down the other ended before dawn Tuesday when a fleeing drunk driver hit a New Jersey State Police trooper's cruiser with his car and was captured, authorities said.

The trooper first stopped the BMW driven by Joel Liberato, 21, of New York City, near milepost 59.6 on westbound Route 80 in Paterson shortly before 12:30 a.m., NJSP Trooper Alejandro Goez said.

Liberato hit the gas after the trooper got out of his cruiser and approached the car, Goez said.

After driving nearly five miles, he exited the highway at Exit 52 in Fairfield, then got back on Route 80 headed east this time, the trooper said.

The BMW hit the cruiser and became disabled near Exit 64 in Lodi, Goez said.

Liberato was immediately taken into custody, he said.

No injuries were reported.

Troopers charged Liberato with DWI, eluding, resisting arrest, obstruction and possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and bogus documents. 

He remained held Tuesday in the Passaic County Jail pending a detention hearing in Central Judicial Processing Court in Paterson.

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