Video showing the police chase of a stolen car that resulted in the death of an uninvolved driver
Video showing the police chase of a stolen car that resulted in the death of an uninvolved driver was released Friday, as the family of the man killed announced it is considering a lawsuit.
The video, which includes footage from a traffic camera, home security footage and dash camera footage from the police car, was posted online by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which is investigating the chase.
The car involved had been stolen out of New Brunswick on Oct. 23, officials said. Samuel Villar, 19, of Somerset and an unidentified 17-year-old traveled to Marlboro in the vehicle and were allegedly trying to burglarize cars, according to a joint statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Old Bridge Police Department. Residents saw what the pair was allegedly trying to do and called the police.
A Marlboro police officer, identified Friday as Sgt. Greg Arrone, responded and started a pursuit of the car, which ended after the car hit several other vehicles on Route 9 south in Old Bridge in the area of Spring Valley Road shortly after 2 a.m., police said.
The occupant of one of the cars, 33-year-old Freehold resident Arturo Tlapa-Luna, was killed in the crash, the office said.
His wife, father and two daughters were also in the car and suffered severe injuries but survived, officials said.
Villar was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter, four counts of aggravated assault, eluding, employing a juvenile and theft. He was being held in the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center pending a detention hearing in superior court, investigators said.
The 17-year-old male who accompanied Villar was taken into custody and charged with an act of juvenile delinquency for crimes which is committed by an adult would be burglary, joyriding, and conspiracy to commit burglary, the office said.
The incident remains under investigation by the state Attorney General’s office, since the crash occurred during a police pursuit.
State law requires the office to investigate the deaths during encounters with police. The actions of the officer will be reviewed, and the findings will be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer involved.
Richard Lomurro, the attorney hired by the Tlapa family, said this week he filed tort claim notices with Marlboro, the state, Monmouth County, Old Bridge Township, and Middlesex County on Dec. 5.
A tort claim puts the entities on notice that he and the family are exploring taking civil action against them.