A Jersey City man is in stable but critical condition after a police chase late last night ended in a fiery car crash, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced.
Leo C. Pinkston, 48, of Jersey City, was charged with eluding and aggravated assault, both second-degree crimes, Suarez said in a statement.
Last night shortly after 11:00 p.m., Jersey City police officers attempted to stop a vehicle in the area of Ocean and Cator Avenues. The vehicle fled the area and was pursued by the officers, authorities said.
As he fled, the driver was involved in at least two separate automobile crashes. The first crash occurred as the driver attempted to drive between two lanes of traffic while traveling on Tonnelle Avenue and officers fired multiple shots at the suspect during this time, officials said.
Several blocks later, the driver crashed into a utility pole causing a fire and injuring an innocent male victim who was also driving on Tonnelle Avenue. The victim was transported by Emergency Medical Services to The Burn Center at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, authorities said.
He is currently in critical condition, but stable, and is being treated for severe burns to his body.
The crash, which occurred just outside of the Econo Lodge, located at 750 Tonnelle Ave., shortly before midnight last night, sent the suspect and several responding officers to the hospital.
Based on a short YouTube video posted by user “0and2pressure” moments after the crash, the car hit a telephone poll and went up in flames, creating a dangerous situation that drew the response of multiple first responders.
The Jersey City Police Department, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office all responded to the incident.
Pursuant to Attorney General guidelines, the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor has taken over the investigation from the Jersey City Police Department and the Prosecutor’s Internal Affairs Unit is now in the early stages of the investigation.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the innocent victim and his family,” Suarez said in a statement.
“We will utilize all resources available to the Prosecutor’s Office for a full and thorough investigation as we seek to bring this matter to a rightful conclusion.”
Anyone with information or video is asked to contact the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office at 201-915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip on their official website at http://www.hudsoncountyprosecutorsofficenj.org/homicide-tip/.
All information will be kept confidential.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated with information released by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.