Newark, East Orange Men Arrested for Eluding in Cranford

Two Essex County men were arrested and the investigation into the identities of two others continues, after a stolen vehicle fled Cranford Police Officers.

According to a statement released by police, Mr. Akim Gibson, 22 of Newark -pictured-, and Mr. Jakill Simmons, 25, of East Orange are facing multiple criminal and motor vehicle charges stemming from this incident.

According to police, on Sunday at 2:52 AM, Patrolman Gregory Federici observed the driver of a 2013 Volkswagen not wearing his seatbelt. Police say the Volkswagen was occupied by four individuals and was traveling in the area of North Avenue East.

When Federici attempted to stop the vehicle, it fled through town center and headed north on Springfield at a high rate of speed. Federici pursued the vehicle shortly as it traveled northbound on Springfield Avenue, but terminated the pursuit due to the high speeds and erratic operation, by the driver, through the residential neighborhood.

Police say unbeknownst to the driver, Springfield Avenue had been closed entirely to traffic, due to a downed tree and powerlines, from a severe thunderstorm earlier in the day.

Cranford Police patrol units eventually located the Volkswagen, which was determined to have been stolen out of Montclair, at the dead-end of Princeton Road after it crashed adjacent to a residence.

A foot pursuit ensued and Westfield Police apprehended Jakill Simmons near a cemetery. The Cranford Police Department subsequently arrested Akim Gibson after he was located in a swampy area behind Union County College according to police.

An investigation is underway to determine the identities of the two other occupants of the vehicle. Additionally, Gibson and Simmons are believed to be suspects in numerous other motor vehicle thefts in surrounding jurisdictions.

“The interagency cooperation from the Union County and Westfield Police Department’s undoubtedly assisted in the apprehension of individuals committing numerous motor vehicle thefts and burglaries in an around Union County. We remind residents to remove key fobs and lock their vehicles at the end of the day, as there has been an uptick in motor vehicle thefts and burglaries,” stated Chief Ryan Greco.

Gibson was charged with Eluding and Possession of Stolen Property and turned over to the New Jersey State Police on an active warrant. Simmons was charged with Resisting Arrest and Possession of Stolen Property and released on a summons pending an appearance in Union County Superior Court.