Wild chase of stolen car ends with arrest

By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


A 19-year-old from Newark ended up in the Hudson County Jail last week after allegedly:

• Stealing a car in North Arlington;

• Leading four Kearny police cars on a chase through town;

• Leading State Police on a chase along Rt. 280;

• Sideswiping another car on Rt. 280;

• Bailing out and fleeing on foot, chased by a state trooper, also on foot; • Running down the 280 ramp onto Harrison Ave.;

• More or less straight into the waiting arms of Kearny police.

The drama started at 7:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 14, when North Arlington cops issued a BOLO for a 2015 Nissan Rogue that had just been stolen from a parking lot at Schuyler Ave. and the Belleville Pike.

Within minutes, KPD Chief John Dowie told The Observer, Sgt. Paul Bershefski spotted the vehicle heading south on Schuyler near Oakwood Ave. Activating lights and siren, Bershefsky attempted to pull it over, but it continued its flight. Three more KPD cars – operated by Officer Dave Rakowski, Officer Tom Bannon, and Dowie – joined the chase, along Schuyler to Bergen Ave., east on Bergen to Harrison Ave., then down Harrison to Rt. 280 West.

Near the highway entrance, a State Police car, alerted by the BOLO, was waiting. KPD terminated its pursuit, which was picked up by the trooper. Bershefsky, however, followed on the highway in case assistance was needed.

Not too far down the road, police said, the Rogue sideswiped a Saturn driven by a 43-year-old woman from Carteret. At that point, the fleeing motorist jumped from the Rogue and, pursued on foot by the state trooper, ran down the 280 ramp onto Harrison Ave.

Bershefski had radioed a description of the suspect, who was promptly nabbed by Bannon and Rakowski, who had driven their cars to the scene.

Taken into custody, and then turned over to the State Police, was Sharieff Copeland, 19, of Newark.

Copeland was charged criminally in Kearny with eluding and with hindering apprehension. A spokesman for the State Police said they charged him with resisting arrest.

According to published reports, Copeland was being held on $50,000 bail in the Hudson County Jail. He reportedly faces up to 10 years if convicted.

Footnote: State Police also told The Observer that, after Copeland struck the Saturn on the highway, the trooper blocked him in with the police car. When Copeland bailed, the Rogue was still in gear. It reportedly rolled into the trooper’s vehicle, causing minor damage.

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