By: Richard L. Smith
A dramatic series of events on Thursday had New Jersey State Troopers engaged in a high-speed pursuit of a white Penske truck wanted by Delaware State Police for evading a motor vehicle stop.NJ State Police officials said the chase, which played out along the New Jersey Turnpike, culminated in the truck crashing and overturning in Elizabeth, Union County, leading to the arrest of two New York residents.
The pursuit began around 12:20 p.m. near milepost 35 in Mount Laurel Township, Burlington County, when troopers attempted to stop the truck, which then fled.
The vehicle was later spotted at a BP Gas Station on Route 130 in Burlington Township, where an initial apprehension attempt failed as the suspects resisted arrest and fled again.
Continuing northbound on the New Jersey Turnpike, the Penske truck was involved in multiple motor vehicle violations and a collision with another motorist. In an attempt to elude capture, the driver rammed a State Police vehicle.
The chase ended near milepost 101.4 in Elizabeth when the truck attempted to cross from the inner to the outer roadway, striking a guardrail and overturning.The driver, identified as 21-year-old Joel Espinal of New York, NY, was arrested and charged with multiple offenses, including Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Assault Causing Bodily Injury while Eluding, Eluding, Resisting Arrest, Criminal Mischief, Receiving Stolen Property, and Fugitive from Justice.
The passenger, 19-year-old Maiky JustoGarcia, also from New York, NY, faced charges of Resisting Arrest, Receiving Stolen Property, and Criminal Mischief. Espinal was detained in Essex County Jail pending a detention hearing, while JustoGarcia was released pending a future court date.
The incident, which remains under investigation, highlights the dangers and consequences of evading law enforcement and the quick response of the New Jersey State Troopers in managing such high-risk situations.