ROCHELLE PARK, N.J. – Persistence, teamwork and a bit of luck helped Rochelle Park police track down a former contractor who they said led them on a chase after a hit-and-run crash.
The victim told Lt. Daniel Urban that the driver of a pickup truck told him he needed to fetch documents from his vehicle after backing it into his car at the intersection of Essex and High streets Wednesday afternoon.
Instead, he got back behind the wheel of the pickup and sped off, Lt. Dean Pinto said.
Urban, after completing training at the police academy on Thursday, checked in with police in Mahwah after the truck was traced to a local business that, it turned out, no longer exists there.
He then headed back to Rochelle Park – and spotted the damaged pickup on southbound Route 17, Pinto said.
Urban pulled the truck over, notified headquarters and got out of his car near the Ford dealership in Paramus – at which point the driver sped off, he said.
Urban had to break off the pursuit because of how recklessly the man was driving, Pinto said.
“But his dashboard cam recorded the encounter,” he said, “and he had gotten a look at the driver when the two vehicles were inches apart on the highway.”
Rochelle Park detectives obtained a photo of the driver – identified as Terence Kiesel, 48 -- from the name on the back of the truck, the lieutenant said.
Pinto was patrolling the parking lot of a local hotel later that afternoon when he spotted the truck.
He and Urban checked with a hotel manager who told them that Kiesel had been staying there.
Detective Sgt. James DePreta obtained a warrant, and he, Pinto, Urban and Officer John Cassidy raided Kiesel’s fifth-floor hotel room, taking the sleeping suspect into custody without incident, Pinto said.
A judge ordered Kiesel held in the Bergen County Jail pending a bail hearing on charges of eluding and obstruction of justice. Kiesel also received several traffic summonses, Pinto said.
Another judge released Kiesel less than 24 hours later, with conditions, under New Jersey’s 2017 Bail Reform & Speedy Trial Act.
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