Altercation Escalates to High-Speed Police Chase Down Route 37
Incident began at Pier One Motel, where officer jumps away from oncoming car
This article is an update of this story.
A parking lot altercation escalated to police chase, with an officer diving out of the way of the suspect's oncoming vehicle Tuesday afternoon.
Police are looking for Joseph Lynch, 55, of Levittown, Penn., a man police allege created a disturbance in a parking lot and turned it into a high-speed chase westbound on Route 37, resulting in multiple vehicles struck.
The incident began at the Pier One Motel after multiple 911 phone calls came in around 4 p.m. reporting a disturbance, said Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy.
"Police received numerous 911 calls that a suspect later identified as Joseph A. Lynch was involved in an altercation in the parking lot," Mastronardy said in an email. Sgt. Scott Moeller was the first officer on the scene and began to approach the suspect.
Lynch allegedly attempted to strike the Moeller and his patrol car in the parking lot with a silver Pontiac Grand Am he was driving, Mastronardy said.
Moeller had to dive out of the path of the Grand Am, and the vehicle went on to strike a parked car before speeding off out of the lot at the base of the Route 37 bridge and heading westbound at high speeds, Mastronardy said.
Officer Frank Lauria attempted to stop the suspect's vehicle but it continued westbound at a high rate of speed, changing lanes and allegedly running a red light.
Police in pursuit were eventually called off due to safety issues, police said.
"Captain Steve Henry canceled the pursuit according to policy at Route #37 after officers indicated the suspect began traveling in a reckless manner at a high rate of speed," Mastronardy said.
The chase began at Pier One and the suspect continued through Washington Street, where the pursuit was called off. At Bay Ridge and Route 37, the Grand Am struck a vehicle in the center lane, causing a minor accident, police said.
A 73 year old Ortley Beach woman was slightly injured in the crash and the Silver Pontiac was last observed westbound on Route 37.
Police continued to search for Lynch and investigate the initial call of a disturbance at the motel.
As a result of the investigatio, a warrant for aggravted assault, eluding and numerous traffic citations was issued for Lynch.
Bail has been set at $100,000 no 10 percent.