Ridgefield Park police officer dragged by minivan at checkpoint

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Jim Dolan reports from Palisades Park. (WABC)

A Ridgefield Park police officer was dragged by a minivan as he tried to perform a traffic stop at checkpoint.

It ended in a crescendo of shattered glass and screeching metal, a stolen minivan that tried to escape a police checkpoint and ended up dragging a police officer nearly 75 feet along Grand Avenue in Palisades Park.

Valerie Georgiou was having dinner when she saw a police car speed by.

"Then we see Leonia Police, then we saw Ridgefield Police, State Police, Bergen Police, and I was like, what's going on, and so I walked outside, and I saw them at the bottom of my block," Georgiou said.

The pursuit started on Broad Avenue, with the stolen minivan driving so recklessly that the driver of an SUV had to swerve to avoid him. Janet Cava was right behind the stolen car and saw the SUV try to get out of the way.

"She tried to avoid getting into the accident with him, so she winded up on the sidewalk and into the building. It sounded as if it was a big explosion, there was a lot of smoke, everyone was running," Cava said.

A mother and her 4-year-old son were in the SUV, neither seriously hurt, but the person driving the stolen minivan kept going, according to sources ramming through a police checkpoint, and dragging the Ridgefield Park police officer.

"One minute I heard the loud bang and the next minute you heard a second bang, and the whole building just shook. That's when I looked out my window, and I looked down, and I saw the car against the side of the building," said Wanda Vasquez, a resident.

The suspect tried to run but was arrested at the scene. He has not been charged officially yet.

"Just at a high speed, just going really, really fast down the hill, so it looked like he was going to tip over, he was just going so fast, absolutely reckless," Cava said.

The officer who was dragged suffered a broken arm and another officer suffered minor injuries.
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police officer injuredPalisades Park
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