The chase lasted about 43 minutes before the driver was stopped in Hillburn near the Suffern village limits, police said. A video showing a portion of the incident was posted on Facebook. The suspect was identified as Paul T. Gudanowski, 51, of Hackensack, East Rutherford Police Chief Larry Minda said in a release issued Monday afternoon.
Agencies in the pursuit included East Rutherford, Suffern (N.Y.) and Ramapo (N.Y.) police, and the New York State Police, Suffern police said in a Facebook post. The chase began in East Rutherford when police spotted the man driving a stolen flatbed near Route 120 close to MetLife Stadium, Summers said. It began at 8:17 a.m. and ended at 9 a.m., police said.
Officers responded to Paterson Plank Road, which is also known as Route 120, where they observed the stolen vehicle being driven in an erratic manner and spotted another tow truck, Minda said. He reported that prior to the arrival of the officers, the second truck attempted to stop the stolen vehicle, at which point a pedestrian narrowly avoided being struck by a truck.
When the driver fled, police from several New Jersey towns joined in a chase that went up Route 17 north into New York, where New York state troopers joined the pursuit. The truck entered I-87 northbound and left the highway at Exit 16 in Orange County by the Woodbury Common Outlet stores. It then made a U-turn, exiting the highway at Exit 15A with more than a dozen police cars surrounding the truck.
The chase went through Mahwah, where police were keeping tabs on it, said Police Chief James N. Batelli. “It went through Mahwah rather quickly,” he said. “We monitored it, but we didn’t pursue a chase. Mahwah police notified state police and Ramapo police, he said.
Allendale Police Chief George Scherb said that officers observed the tow truck going north on Route 17 from a vantage point on East Allendale Avenue.
The truck came to a stop on Route 59 in Hillburn, near the village limits of Suffern, after an East Rutherford patrol car accidentally hooked onto the flatbed’s rear bumper.
Gudanowski was charged in East Rutherford with two counts of aggravated assault, possession of stolen property, eluding and motor vehicle violations, Minda said. He is being held by New York state police on their charges awaiting extradition to New Jersey. Summers said he was charged with operating a stolen vehicle, assault on a police officer and numerous driving violations.
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