MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ — A Linden man is in custody and facing multiple criminal charges after a vehicular chase and foot pursuit ended with him being shot Friday afternoon. The man's injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, according to the Union County Prosecutor's Office.
Lester Krek, 32, is charged with second-degree disarming a police officer, second-degree eluding police and third-degree resisting arrest, acting Union County Prosecutor Jennifer Davenport announced Saturday.
At about 2:15 p.m. Friday, a motorist later identified as Krek was pulled over by members of the Union Police Department on U.S. Route 22 West for a traffic violation, according to the preliminary investigation.
During the course of the stop, Krek left the scene, prompting a brief vehicular pursuit, according to the prosecutor's office. Minutes later, his vehicle was found damaged several miles west down the highway in Mountainside, the prosecutor's office said.
When a Union Police Department sergeant located Krek on the 1600 block of Larkspur Drive in Mountainside, a short distance away, a brief physical altercation resulted in the sergeant discharging his service weapon, striking Krek, the prosecutor's office said. Both the defendant and sergeant were then transported to University Hospital in Newark for medical treatment of injuries not believed to be life-threatening, the prosecutor's office said.
The Prosecutor’s Office’s Shooting Response Team is continuing to investigate the circumstances behind the police use of force, in accordance with the applicable New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Directive 2006-05 (amended 2015).
A Scotch Plains police officer on his way to provide support for Mountainside and Union police during the pursuit was treated for injuries at Overlook Hospital after his car was hit and seriously damaged by a driver who ran a stop sign.
Veteran officer Joe Citarella's vehicle was struck from the rear and seriously damaged, police said. His injuries did not require an overnight stay; he was treated and released by the hospital, according to Scotch Plains Police Chief Ted Conley.
The criminal charges against Krek will be heard in Superior Court. Anyone with information about this incident is being urged to contact Sgt. Janet Lopez at 908-347-8491 or Detective Katelyn Prata at 908-447-6195.