UPDATE: A judge set $1 million bail for a Connecticut man who authorities said rammed a stolen vehicle into an Englewood Cliffs police car, injuring an officer, and then took off in another borough cruiser on a low-speed chase through several towns before crashing on Route 4 in Paramus.
(PHOTO, top: Sammy Natal)
Officer Mark Krapels received injuries that Englewood Cliffs Police Chief Michael Cioffi said weren’t life-threatening.
The carjacking victim also was hospitalized after hyperventilating, he said.
The carjacker — identified as 22-year-old Sereymanta Kong of Wallingford, CT — was taken to Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus in the custody of county sheriff’s officers.
Initial charges include assault on police, carjacking, resisting arrest and obstruction. More counts were expected.
The incident began just after 3 p.m. as the victim, a borough resident, headed down Castle Drive in her Mercedes with her two children — ages 11 and 13 — on her way to take one of them to a friend’s house, Cioffi said.
Kong was lying in the middle of the road, and the woman tried to steer around him, the chief said, when he jumped up and grabbed her door handle.
The woman got her children out of the car and Kong sped off with it toward Montammy Golf Club in Alpine, he said.
Krapels intercepted the car with his cruiser, which Kong rammed with the stolen vehicle, Cioffi told CLIFFVIEW PILOT while on his way to visit his officer.
Alpine, Tenafly and Palisades Interstate Parkway police rushed to the scene.
Kong got free of his pursuers, jumped behind the wheel of Englewood Cliffs Police Department car #263 and hit the gas.
The chase went through several towns — among them, Bergenfield, Dumont, New Milford and River Edge — with various police departments joining in along the way. They included the Bergen County Bureau of Police Services and New Jersey State Police.
At least two New Milford police cars were among several damaged in the pursuit, Cioffi said. The officers driving them were taken to the hospital as a precaution.
A witness told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that one of them tried a “pit maneuver” — bumping a corner of rear of the fleeing car with the front corner of his — after which Kong crashed on westbound Route 4 outside the Paramus Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership.
He tried to run but was quickly chased down and taken into custody — but not before biting a PIP police officer and trying to bite two others, the chief said.
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