A 19-year-old Newark man who was allegedly behind a string of car thefts in Princeton that resulted in a fatal head-on car crash in November 2021 is facing multiple charges in connection with the incidents, according to the Princeton Police Department.
The man, who was arrested May 16 by the United States Marshal Service and the New Jersey State Police, has been charged with employing a juvenile to commit a criminal offense, burglary and theft, police said.
The man is facing additional charges charges from other jurisdictions. He is being held in the Essex County Correction Center.
Princeton police determined that the man had allegedly employed two juveniles, ages 14 and 15, to steal cars in the Princeton area. He also allegedly stole a 2015 Land Rover Range Rover from a Dodds Lane residence.
The chain of events began when police were called to a Clover Lane home to investigate an attempted car theft Nov. 7, 2021, police said. The victim told police that three people had entered his car and tried to steal it. They were riding in a Jeep Grand Cherokee that was later found to have been reported stolen from Pequannock Township.
While a police officer was investigating the attempted car theft on Clover Lane, he saw a Jeep Grand Cherokee traveling west on Clover Lane. It was being followed by a 2015 Land Rover Range Rover, allegedly driven by the 19-year-old Newark man.
The officer got into his car and followed the Range Rover, which had just been reported stolen from a Dodds Lane residence. The officer tried to stop the Range Rover, but it suddenly accelerated, according to reports. He chased the Range Rover, but stopped the pursuit because of the driver’s reckless behavior, police said.
The Range Rover was last observed traveling east on Princeton-Kingston Road/Route 27. It was later recovered in Newark, where it had been abandoned, police said.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee, meanwhile, had driven off in a different direction, police said.
A short time later, police were called to respond to Princeton-Kingston Road/Route 27 to investigate a crash that had occurred near Carnegie Road. When officers arrived, they found the Jeep Grand Cherokee had struck a 2016 Acura RDX head-on.
The Jeep was traveling east and the Acura was driving west when the Jeep crossed the centerline and struck the Acura, police said. The force of the impact pushed the Acura on top of the Jeep.
The 15-year-old driver of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 61-year-old woman who was driving the Acura were pronounced dead at the scene. A 14-year-old passenger in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, also from Newark, was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center for treatment.