SOMERSET COUNTY – Police arrested a 19-year-old Elizabeth man who allegedly led officers on a high-speed car chase in a stolen vehicle early Monday morning, Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announced.
At approximately 12:55 a.m. on April 16, Mubarek Y. Muhammed came to the attention of a Bernards Township patrol officer for failing to maintain his Mazda 626 in the center lane of the roadway, Soriano said. A radio check determined that the vehicle had been reported stolen out of Bethlehem, Pa., according to authorities.
The patrol officer attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop, but after Muhammed slowed and moved to the right lane, he accelerated away from the officer, authorities said. The officer pursued Muhammed with his lights and sirens activated, and the suspect allegedly drove recklessly at speeds exceeding 125 mph during the chase.
The Mazda left Interstate via Exit #24 Tewksbury Township in Hunterdon County and the defendant continued northbound on County Route #523 for approximately a half mile before losing control and striking a telephone pole, authorities said.
As the Bernards Township officer pulled next to the vehicle, Muhammed allegedly placed his vehicle into reverse and sideswiped the patrol vehicle with the officer still inside. The defendant turned his vehicle around and proceeded southbound on County Route #523, authorities said. After driving back onto Interstate 78, the defendant’s vehicle made an abrupt right and drove off the roadway and crashed into the wood line, authorities said.
According to Soriano, Muhammed got out of the vehicle and fled into the woods as officers pursued him. A short time later, the New Jersey State Police apprehended Muhammed. At the time of his arrest he was found to be in possession of a bag of marijuana, authorities said.
Muhammed was charged with eluding, aggravated assault on a police officer, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, resisting by flight, and possession of marijuana (under 50 grams), a disorderly persons offense. He was lodged in the Somerset County Jail.
The charges against Muhammed are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.