- Associated Press - Sunday, April 30, 2017

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) - A police officer fired several shots at a stolen SUV after authorities say the driver struck a police cruiser and other vehicles at an accident scene and nearly hit some emergency responders.

Union County prosecutors said Nelson Valentin, 30, of Elizabeth, was charged with causing widespread damage and injury, aggravated assault and aggravated assault on a police officer.

The charges stem from a series of events that occurred Saturday in Elizabeth, starting with a car accident. Police responded to the scene around 3:15 p.m. and, a short time later, the sport utility vehicle was carjacked at a nearby location by someone who also stole cash from the driver.

Valentin was driving the SUV a short time later when he came upon the accident scene and tried to maneuver around it, authorities said. He briefly drove forward on the sidewalk before he started driving backward and struck the cruiser, authorities said, and then accelerated forward and nearly hit the first responders.

An Elizabeth officer fired his service weapon multiple times, striking the SUV. Police say no one was struck by gunfire. Valentin then allegedly hit another vehicle before the SUV became disabled and he was taken into custody.

The officer whose cruiser was struck by the SUV was treated at a hospital for undisclosed injuries.

A telephone number for Valentin could not be located Sunday, and it wasn’t known if he has retained an attorney.


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