Gunman charged with leading police on a vehicle pursuit

An Elizabeth man has been arrested and charged with being responsible for leading police on a vehicle pursuit that ended in a crash that took the life of an innocent motorist last weekend.

Surpris Ophilien Jr., 30, is charged with first-degree aggravated manslaughter, second-degree death by auto, second-degree eluding police, two second-degree weapons offenses, third-degree resisting arrest, and related traffic violations, including leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park said that at approximately 2:30 a.m. Saturday when Elizabeth Police Department patrol units were called to the Allstar Nightclub on 3rd Street in Elizabeth on a report of an altercation. On their way to the scene, two Elizabeth police officers in a patrol vehicle spotted a green GMC pickup truck being driven by Ophilien travel through a red light at a high rate of speed.

Ophilien subsequently led the officers on a brief vehicle pursuit, but once the pickup truck started traveling the wrong way down a one-way street, the pursuit was terminated. Moments later, however, the officers heard a loud vehicle collision take place a short distance away, on an overpass for a ramp leading to North Avenue East in Elizabeth.

Ophilien, who was found to be in possession of a .45-caliber handgun, climbed out of the wrecked pickup and ran a short distance, leaping from the overpass to the roadway below before being arrested. The critically injured driver of the vehicle Ophilien had struck on the overpass, 25-year-old Edward Coleman of East Orange, was rushed to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead several hours later.

Ophilien remains in custody on $750,000 bail set by state Superior Court Judge Scott J. Moynihan.
Park noted that these criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Connect with NJTODAY.NET

Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!
Email for advertising information Send stuff to NJTODAY.NET Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter Download this week's issue of NJTODAY.NET
Print Friendly, PDF & Email