Hackensack man in stolen tow truck leads police from two states on chase
A Hackensack man driving a stolen tow truck led police from two states on a chase up Route 17 in Bergen County and into New York Monday morning, at one point dragging an East Rutherford police car, according to police.
Paul T. Guadanowski, 50 of Hackensack, was apprehended on Route 59 near Suffern, New York after exiting the New York State Thruway, according to the Suffern Police Department.
Gudanowski was driving a tow truck that had been reported stolen from Bergen Brookside Auto Body and Towing, Inc. in Hackensack, police said.
East Rutherford Police received a call that a 2004 International flat bed tow truck that had been stolen from Brookside was seen near Paterson Plank Road.
Police responded and saw the stolen vehicle and another Brookside Towing vehicle, operated by an employee, traveling through East Rutherford, according to a news release from East Rutherford Police Chief Larry Minda.
Brookside's general manager told CBS New York that he believes the truck was stolen around midnight. When he discovered it was missing Monday morning, he used the vehicle's GPS to locate it.
Police said Gudanowski was driving erratically.
"The secondary vehicle had attempted to stop the stolen vehicle prior to our arrival at which point the operator apparently veered his vehicle toward the Brookside employee who was able to jump away without being injured," the news release said.
Gudanowsi struck a non-police vehicle that was being driven on Terrace Avenue in Hasbrouck Heights and continued driving erratically onto Route 17 north and into New York.
Because of his erratic driving, the two East Rutherford police officers "continued to stay with the vehicle in order to minimize any danger to the public," police said.
During the course of this incident one East Rutherford Police Vehicle was struck along with two NY State Police vehicles, according to the news release.
Suffern Police Department said in a Facebook post that as the stolen tow truck approached the New York State Thruway one of the East Rutherford police vehicles "inadvertently became hooked onto the rear of the flatbed with the officer inside and was being dragged."
"The pursuit continued on the Thruway and eventually the vehicle was stopped on route 59 in Hillburn near the Suffern border," Suffern Police Department said.
New York State Police Capt. Richard Mazzone told CBS New York that his department responded to help around 8:30 a.m. when the suspect got on the New York Thruway at exit 15 heading toward Woobury.
Mazzone told CBS that the driver made a u-turn and started heading south on the Thruway and hit two New York police vehicles.
New York State Police, Ramapo Police and several police departments from New Jersey assisted in the incident, according to the Suffern Police Department post.
East Rutherford police charged Gudanowski with two counts of aggravated assault, possession of stolen property, eluding and motor vehicle violations. He is being held by New York State Police waiting extradition to New Jersey.