Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chopper 4 Captures Dramatic Chase as Armed Robbery Suspect Leads Feds Across Verrazano Bridge: Source

A law enforcement source says a man being sought in an armed robbery was taken into custody after a police chase that started in New Jersey and ended on the Brooklyn side of the Verrazano Bridge when the fleeing vehicle crashed, capping off a dramatic sequence of events Tuesday captured exclusively by Chopper 4.

The law enforcement source tells NBC 4 New York the U.S. Marshals' Regional New York/New Jersey Task Force had been looking for the man in connection with the robbery, the details of which weren't immediately clear.

They found him in Old Bridge, New Jersey, and he fled in what appeared to be a blue car. The man was believed to be dangerous, the source said, and U.S. Marshals gave pursuit.

The high-speed pursuit led from the Middlesex County town over the Outerbridge Crossing into Staten Island, then continued over the Verrazano Bridge and into Brooklyn. Chopper 4 showed nearly half a dozen vehicles, many with sirens blaring, zipping across the span and on residential streets before the runaway vehicle crashed on the Brooklyn side shortly after 2 p.m.

The runaway car wove to either side of the road as it tried to evade the police cars and managed to separate from the cruisers for a moment on the Brooklyn side of the span before police caught up. A police car hit the speeding getaway car from behind and the getaway vehicle corrected course and kept moving.

Chopper 4 showed the getaway car and the law enforcement vehicles speed past other cars in the Bath Beach neighborhood, including ones stopped at a traffic light, before they crashed.

Resident Danny Castillo was inside his home when he heard the chase-ending crash that wrecked his red van parked outside. 

"I hear 'boom, boom, boom,' he hit three cars here. I see cops and helicopters everywhere," he told NBC 4 New York. "They ran out and chase some guy." 

"It was unbelievable, I've never seen anything like that happen, over here, especially," said Castillo.

A person in a red shirt was seen getting out of the passenger side of the vehicle and trying to run after the crash. The driver of the runaway car momentarily appeared to try to flee again, but the banged-up car couldn't go far. 

MTA Bridges & Tunnels officers surrounded the vehicle and took the driver into custody on 14th Avenue, the agency said. The person in the red shirt was also apprehended. It wasn't clear which person was the one being sought in the armed robbery investigation.

Charges are pending against both. The NYPD said two people were in custody at the 68th Precinct station in Bay Ridge and were expected to be moved to the 121st Precinct station on Staten Island. 

The MTA said it was asked to close the Verrazano but didn't get a chance before the chase spilled onto the span. At least one Port Authority officer was injured during the chase; the extent of the injuries was not clear but authorities said they were not considered life-threatening. 

Story and video:  http://www.nbcnewyork.com

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