Police & Fire

Man Admits to Fatal Car Crash in Elizabeth After Police Chase

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Credits: Fran Sullivan
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ELIZABETH, NJ - A Rahway man admitted to killing a person two years ago in a car crash after a police chase, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park said today.

Surpris Ophilien, Jr., 32, fled from police in his vehicle and struck another man in a car on July 18, 2015, authorities said. Twenty-five-year-old Edward Coleman, of East Orange, was critically hurt in the collision and would later die from his injuries.

Elizabeth police were responding to a report of an altercation at Allstar Nightclub on 3rd Street at 2:30 a.m. when they spotted Ophilien’s pickup truck speeding through a red light, prosecutors said. He then led police on a car chase.

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Police ended the chase once Ophilien ’s vehicle started traveling the wrong way down a one-way street, officials said. The fatal collision took place moments later on an overpass a short distance away leading to North Avenue East, authorities said. 

Ophilien climbed out of his wrecked pickup and ran a short distance, leaping from the overpass to a roadway below before being arrested. He was found to be in possession of a fully-loaded .45-caliber handgun, authorities said.

Ophilien yesterday pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated manslaughter and a second-degree charge of persons not to possess a weapon in State Superior Court, authorities said.

The case was prosecuted by Union County Homicide Task Force Supervisor Michael Henn and Assistant Prosecutor Armando Suarez.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15. The state will recommend a sentence of 20 years in state prison, where Ophilien will have to serve 17 years before the possibility of parole.

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