A suspended Hackensack driver was drunk when he pulled up behind a Clifton police car in an empty parking lot before dawn, then led a high-speed chase that ended in a Paterson crash, authorities said.
Officer Jomarcel Urena was on patrol in the area of Main and Sylvan avenues when the driver – identified as 28-year-old Preston Washington Jr. – followed him into the parking lot of a closed business at 2:35 a.m. Saturday.
The officer got out and found Washington smelling of alcohol behind the wheel of a 2017 black Lexus SUV, Sgt. Robert Anderson said.
Urena asked if he needed help, to which Washington replied that he was “checking to see if the officer was all right,” the sergeant said.
The officer asked for his credentials, but Washington began to slowly drive away instead, Anderson said.
As Urena shouted at him to stop, Washington “looked directly at the officer and then began to accelerate rapidly, entering Main Avenue and fleeing north,” he said.
Urena got back into his cruiser and began pursuing the Lexus as it crossed into Paterson, but Anderson said the dangerously high speed forced him to stop the chase.
The officer continued with the normal flow of traffic on Main Street in Paterson – where, moments later, he found the Lexus had crashed into a parked car and a fence near Washington Avenue, the sergeant said.
Several Paterson police officers arrived and assisted with Washington’s arrest, he said.
An ambulance was called, but Washington refused medical attention.
At police headquarters, “he repeatedly shouted obscenities and threats to officers,” Anderson said.
Police charged Washington with eluding and making terroristic threats and issued several traffic summonses – including DWI, DWI in a school zone, refusing to submit to a breath test, reckless driving and failing to observe a traffic signal.
He was later released to a responsible adult, pending a court hearing, under John’s Law.
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