A Toms River man dragged a Brick police officer with his pickup truck, then led police on a high speed chase before being located near an entrance to the Garden State Parkway, authorities said.
The incident began at about midnight April 18, when Ptl. Mark Nixon attempted to pull over Ronald C. DeFreitas, 36, who was driving a 2000 Ford F-150 pickup truck, Sgt. Henry Drew said.
DeFreitas was suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but as Nixon, with the assistance of Sgt. John Talty, Jr., attempted to arrest him on an outstanding warrant, DeFreitas reached to put the vehicle in drive and flee from the scene, Drew said. Nixon reached in to prevent him from doing so, but DeFreitas was able to put the vehicle in gear, then rapidly acclerate across the parking lot of Drum Point Elementary School – where the traffic stop had taken place – dragging Nixon, who had latched on the driver's side door.
DeFreitas traveled for approximately 250 feet at a high rate of speed, Drew said, dragging Nixon, then made a sharp left turn which caused the officer to be thrown onto the pavement.
DeFreitas then drove over a curb and across the grass of school property before fleeing eastbound on Drum Point Road.
Despite his injuries, which included a fractured rib, Nixon, along with Talty, returned to their vehicles and started looking for DeFreitas, who was eventually located by Ptl. Anthony DeMaio.
DeMaio attempted to pull DeFreitas over, but instead he began to lead DeMaio on a high speed chase eastbound down Mantoloking Road.
"A lengthy pursuit through multiple jurisdictions ensued," said Drew, reaching speeds of 90 m.p.h.
Eventually, Brick officers called off the pursuit and alerted neighboring agencies to be on the lookout for the F-150, Drew said.
Lakewood police eventually found the truck unoccupied off Airport Road, and a search of the area led police to discover DeFreitas near an entrance ramp to the Garden State Parkway.
"DeFreitas resisted arrest, however was placed into custody without further incident," said Drew.
DeFreitas is now lodged in the Ocean County Jail in lieu of $150,000 cash bail. He has been charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer; aggravated assault; aggravated assault by auto; eluding; resisting arrest; and multiple motor vehicle charges.
Nixon was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, where he was treated for multiple abrasions, a fractured rib, sprained knee and a bruised elbow.
An ongoing investigation is being conducted by Ptl. Jay Lampiasi of the Brick Township Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit along with the Ocean County Prosecutors Office.
Additional charges are pending, Drew said.