Authorities say one of two stolen sport utility vehicles spotted by a New Jersey police officer after the attempted theft of a third vehicle was later involved in a head-on crash that claimed two lives and critically injured a third person.
Princeton police say a man told officers shortly after 12:30 p.m. Sunday that three people tried to steal his vehicle, which was parked in his driveway. He said they were driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee that police found had been stolen earlier from Pequannock Township.
An officer investigating the attempted theft spotted the suspect SUV heading west followed by a Land Rover Range Rover that had just been stolen from another home. The officer began following the Range Rover and tried to stop it but terminated pursuit because of the SUV's reckless driving. That SUV was later found abandoned in Newark.
Police were called shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday to the crash of the stolen Grand Cherokee, which had crossed the center line and struck an oncoming vehicle. The 15-year-old Newark youth driving the stolen SUV was pronounced dead at the scene and a 14-year-old passenger was taken to Capitol Health Regional Medical Center in critical condition. The other driver, 61-year-old was Jodi Marcou of Kendall Park, was also killed, police said.
Princeton police and the Mercer County prosecutor's office are investigating the crash.