What really happened: Wild and crazy lead-up to Route 35 shooting, prosecutors say
HOLMDEL — An Old Bridge man faces multiple carjacking, motor vehicle theft and weapons charges after a police shooting early Wednesday morning on Route 35.
Justin Chacon, 33, of Old Bridge and Brooklyn, stole a commercial delivery van from the parking lot of Hackensack Meridian Health Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel around 5:45 a.m., Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond Santiago said Thursday.
NBC 4 New York reported that Chacon had been a patient at the hospital and took the van, which had been left running.
Chacon drove the van north on Route 35 and crashed it onto a jersey barrier on the northbound side at Navesink River Road in Middletown, according to Santiago.
A good Samaritan stopped to help but Chacon stole his SUV and continued driving north.
Chacon drove the SUV north on Route 35 where he struck a garbage truck at Centerville Road in Holmdel around 6:15 a.m., according to the prosecutor. The impact knocked the SUV off the highway and it went through several utility poles and burst into flames next to a closed farm stand, Santiago said.
Confrontation with police
After leaving the burning SUV, Chacon used a pair of wire-cutting pliers to try to break into two vehicles stopped along Route 35. The drivers of both cars refused to let him take their vehicles and Chacon kept walking, police said.
Police caught up with Chacon and told him to drop the cutters. Chacon refused and walked towards the officers, police said. One fired a shot but Chacon was not subdued until after a "prolonged" fight with officers, according to Santiago.
Chacon was hospitalized.
He was charged with three counts of first-degree carjacking and single counts of third-degree motor vehicle theft, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and third-degree resisting arrest.
Route 35 was closed for most of Wednesday between Laurel Avenue and Centerville Road, causing large traffic delays.
The Prosecutor's Office Professional Responsibility Unit is investigating the circumstances of the shooting.
Santiago asked anyone with information about the incident to contact his office at 800-533-7443.