MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville Township Police officers aided in the pursuit of an alleged drunk driver who led Morris County Park Police across three towns in a disabled vehicle before his arrest.
Sergeant Edward Koster was patrolling The Tourne in Boonton at approximately 6 p.m. on Saturday when he noticed a car parked in the lower parking lot near the ballfield, according to an account from Morris County Park Police Lieutenant Chris List.
Koster noticed a man with his legs hanging out of a vehicle’s windows even though it was raining, List said. When Koster approached the vehicle, the man brought his legs back into the car, acted nervous, and was motioning as though he was trying to hide something in the center console, List said. The man then put the vehicle into “drive” and took off, List said, bouncing over a concrete parking stop in the process.
What ensued was a slow-speed pursuit as the officer attempted to catch up. The man turned onto Powerville Road, turned right onto Rockaway Valley Road, and that road becomes Taylortown Road in Montville Township. At that time, the man’s vehicle blew out a tire, according to List’s account. Still, the pursuit continued.
The man turned right onto Main Road/Route 202, got onto Route 287, exited at number 42 in Parsippany, and used 202 to get onto Route 80. The man stopped in the travel lane of Route 80 West, got out of his car, and tried to run down a grassy hill. Park Police and NJ State Police caught him and arrested him.
Montville Township police officers aided in the chase while it occurred in Montville Township and two township police cars were damaged. No Montville Township officers were injured. The extent of the damage was unclear at press time. The arrest was made within approximately 15 to 30 minutes from the time Koster found the man at The Tourne, according to List.
The man, Orest Lopadchak, age 37, was charged with eluding a law enforcement officer; possession of a controlled, dangerous substance and paraphernalia; resisting arrest; aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer without injury; and “many motor vehicle summonses including DWI and reckless driving,” List said. The man was brought to Morristown Medical Center for observation.
When asked for the reason for the continuation of the pursuit across three towns, List said that due to the slow speed, the light traffic conditions, and the fact that the pursuing officer is a supervisor who could have terminated at any time, the pursuit was deemed safe to continue.
Editor’s Note: All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.