ELIZABETH, NJ - An Elizabeth resident Nelson Valentin, 30, was arrested after a wild ride that involved gun fire and colliding with multiple vehicles at the scene of an investigation into an unrelated Saturday afternoon, April 29, car accident is in custody, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Sunday.

Valetin is charged with second-degree causing widespread damage and injury, second-degree aggravated assault, and third-degree aggravated assault on a police officer.

The incident began at approximately 3:15 p.m. on Saturday when Elizabeth police, fire, and emergency medical personnel responded to the scene of a motor vehicle accident in the area of North Avenue between Newark and Pennsylvania avenues, according to the preliminary investigation, which remains ongoing.

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Shortly thereafter, in the area of First Street and Inslee Place in Elizabeth, the driver of an SUV was robbed of a quantity of cash and carjacked at gunpoint, the investigation indicated.

Thereafter, Valentin, while driving the carjacked vehicle, allegedly came upon the aforementioned accident scene and attempted to maneuver around it, driving on a sidewalk for a short distance and then reversing course, driving backwards and striking a marked patrol vehicle being driven by an Elizabeth Police Department officer. He then allegedly accelerated forward suddenly, nearly striking other first responders at the scene.

Around this time, an Elizabeth police officer fired his service weapon multiple times, striking the SUV. Valentin then struck one additional vehicle before the SUV became disabled, and he was placed under arrest a short time later. The officer whose vehicle was struck by Valentin was taken to a local hospital for treatment of injuries and later released. No one is believed to have been struck by gunfire.  

The Prosecutor’s Office’s Shooting Response Team is continuing to investigate this incident with assistance from the Union County Sheriff’s Office and Union County Police Department, and anyone with information is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Sgt. Andrew Dellaquila at 908-274-5771. The investigation is being conducted in strict accordance with New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Directive 2006-5 and the July 28, 2015 supplemental directive, which govern all investigations into use of deadly force by law enforcement.