(Reuters) - A carjacking spree escalated quickly when a man stole a Mercedes and then a police cruiser, leading officers in a chase through several New Jersey towns and damaging police cars along the way.
A Connecticut man identified as Sereymanta Kong, 22, was accused in the Sunday incident, police said. He has been hospitalized and was being held on $1 million bail on Monday.
Kong stole a Mercedes belonging to a woman who saw him lying in the middle of a road in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, according to police reports. The woman stopped her car and got out to help him, believing he was injured, said Sergeant Colin Ford of the Englewood Cliffs Police Department.
Kong jumped up into her car as soon as the woman got out. Her two children, reported by local media to be ages 11 and 13, were able to get out of the vehicle before he sped away.
Police pursued Kong and stopped him in nearby Alpine, New Jersey, where he backed the Mercedes into a police car. He then jumped out of the Mercedes and, during a struggle with officers, got into the police car and drove away, Ford said.
Kong was pursued by several police cars down a busy highway and collided with some of them during the chase, Ford said. He then crashed the cruiser into a Jeep dealership in Paramus, New Jersey, police said.
Kong was arrested at the scene. He was undergoing physical and psychological evaluation in a hospital, and was due to be arraigned afterwards, Ford said.
Several police officers were also treated for minor injuries following the chase.
(Reporting by Katie Reilly; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Bernadette Baum)