Man shot by police following chase

June 27, 2008 7:41:10 AM PDT
A 21-year-old driver was fatally shot by police following a police chase through Denville Thursday morning.The driver was shot during the chase, sending his car careening off the road and into the backyard of a house on Franklin Road just before 2:30 a.m.

The car came to rest after crashing into an above-ground pool.

Police say it started as a routine police stop, and then the chase began.

Denville officer Richard Byrne fired five times, striking 21-year-old Ruben Martinez with each shot, the prosecutor said.

A police officer might have been dragged under the suspect's car at the start of the chase, according to police.

Martinez was apparently in town for his brother's graduation.

"We heard somebody about 2:30 in the morning come flying down the street sounding like some part of the car was dragging really loud," neighbor Laurie Laricci said.

The car appears to be a high-performance vehicle.

Franklin Road was closed between Route 46 and North Shore Road throughout the morning as authorities scoured the scene for evidence.

Byrne, a Denville officer since 1994, was treated for a shoulder injury at a Denville hospital and released. Autopsy and toxicology reports are pending, Bianchi said.

Martinez had graduated from Morris Knolls High School in 2005 and had been working in Laredo, Tex., friends said.

STORY BY: Eyewitness News New Jersey reporter Anthony Johnson