A pre-dawn cross-county pursuit Monday through nearly a dozen towns began in Mahwah, continued through Paramus and ended on a Haworth dead end street when the driver bailed out while the stolen car was moving.
The 2014 Honda Accord slammed into a fire hydrant after grazing a cruiser driven by a Haworth police sergeant, who seized the passenger – a self-proclaimed gang member from Newark.
The driver fled.
It began when a Mahwah police officer began chasing the Honda -- reported stolen out of Linden -- shortly before 1:30 a.m. Monday on Route 287.
Paramus Police Officer Michael Mordaga picked up the broken-off pursuit on southbound Route 208 to eastbound Route 4.
Mordaga continued chasing the stolen auto to Hudson Terrace in Fort Lee and, eventually, into Haworth.
Haworth Sgt. Gianluca Ragone heard the SPEN broadcast of a chase headed his way, then saw the vehicles go down dead-ended Summit Place, Detective Sgt. Justin Fox said.
The Honda was still moving with the passenger inside when the driver ran, with Mordaga in pursuit, around 2 a.m.
Ragone grabbed the passenger, who Fox said was still wearing a ski mask and carrying about a half-ounce of pot.
Police identified him as Kendel L. Smith, a 19-year-old self-described member of the Brick City Brims, a Newark-area street gang affiliated with the Bloods, who has a criminal history that includes vehicle theft.
Smith was charged with possession of burglary tools and pot and turned over to Paramus police, who charged him with their own offenses. He remained held Monday in the Bergen County Jail pending a detention hearing in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack.
Meanwhile, a Bergen County Sheriff’s K-9 unit joined Haworth police, other sheriff’s officers and police from neighboring towns in searching for the driver.
The perimeter was broken down a little over an hour later.
Police suspect the driver fled in a vehicle that was reported stolen early Monday at the Haworth-Dumont border.
ALSO SEE: A Washington Township police officer was treated for a shoulder injury Monday after a motorist struck his SUV with her car when she backed out of a driveway without looking, authorities said.
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