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Jackson Man Pleads Guilty to Ramming Detective Vehicle

Ocean County

By: Kafi Rosenbaum

Authorities in Ocean County reported that on July 12, Kevin Valverde-Cruz, 21, of Jackson, pled guilty to Aggravated Assault and Eluding Law Enforcement before the Honorable Linda G. Baxter, J.S.C. (retired and serving on recall) in connection with an incident that occurred on October 18, 2022, in Lakewood Township.

According to Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer, on October 18, 2022, Detectives from the Lakewood Township Police Department observed a white Jeep Grand Cherokee traveling at a high rate of speed and attempted to effectuate a motor vehicle stop. The operator of the vehicle failed to stop and the pursuit was ultimately terminated on the Garden State Parkway due to public safety concerns.

Later that evening, the same vehicle - confirmed by the vehicle’s New Jersey registration number from the first encounter - was located on the shoulder of the westbound lane of Central Avenue in Lakewood. Detectives approached the vehicle and made contact with its operator.

Officials say, the operator of the vehicle did not comply with the Detectives' commands, put the vehicle in reverse, and struck the Detectives’ vehicle. The operator of the vehicle abruptly turned back into the roadway - almost striking the Detectives - and fled the area.

On January 10, the Ocean County Regional SWAT executed a court-authorized search warrant on Valverde-Cruz’s residence in Jackson Township. Valverde-Cruz was taken into custody without incident and processed at Lakewood Township Police Headquarters. The white Jeep Grand Cherokee was also located at the residence in Jackson Township.

Valverde-Cruz was transported to the Ocean County Jail and subsequently released as a consequence of New Jersey Bail Reform.

At the time of his sentencing on September 8, 2023, the State will be seeking a term of five years in New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) for the Aggravated Assault charge and five years in NJSP for the Eluding charge. The sentences are to run concurrently.