Shoplifter Dies After Stolen Jaguar Launches Into Doctor’s Office During NJ Police Pursuit, Bursts Into Flames: Authorities, Witnesses

What to Know

  • The police pursuit started Sunday afternoon when a Target manager told cops the suspect was trying to steal over-the-counter medicine
  • When cops tried to apprehend him in the parking lot, he jumped into a stolen Jaguar and led police on a brief pursuit before crashing
  • The Jaguar burst into flames; the driver died at the scene. Three cops who tried to rescue him were treated for smoke inhalation at hospital

A man driving a stolen Jaguar who was being chased by police after trying to shoplift hundreds of dollars in over-the-counter medicine from a New Jersey Target died after he careened off the road, flipped over and crashed into a doctor's office Sunday afternoon, authorities say.

The man, who has not been identified, was killed when the Jaguar, which had been reported stolen out of Irvington a week earlier, struck the office near Springfield Avenue and Victory Road in Springfield and went up in flames.

Three police officers who tried to save the man from the burning vehicle were treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation. Nobody was inside the office at the time of the collision because it is closed on Sundays.

Authorities say the pursuit was brief. It started after a store manager at the Target on Springfield Avenue in the Vauxhall section of Union Township told two cops around 4 p.m. Sunday that a man was trying to steal drugs. When officers tried to apprehend the man in the store parking lot, the suspect tried to bite one of them, then got into the Jaguar and sped away, authorities said Monday.

It wasn't long before he failed to negotiate a turn and crashed. Witnesses described a harrowing scene.

"I heard tires screeching and it was like a real boom," one witness said. 

Photos posted to social media show what appears to be a white sedan lodged, upside-down, in a three-story building. Shattered glass and broken concrete litter the scene. 

Matthew Ryan
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