Hillburn, NY – It is officially licensed to tow police cars, but a Hackensack company found one its vehicles engaged in an unusual tow on Monday morning, as a manned police car got stuck under the rear of a stolen flatbed truck and was dragged for miles during a two state police crash that ultimately involved more than ten vehicles and four different law enforcement agencies.
East Rutherford Police Chief Larry Minda said that Paul Gudanowski reportedly stole a 2004 International flatbed truck out of Brookside Auto and Towing’s Hackensack yard sometime last night.
The theft was discovered this morning by employees reporting to work and according to CBS News reports, Brookside’s general manager tracked the truck using its GPS device.
An employee at Brookside who agreed to be interviewed only on condition of anonymity said that the company has more than 20 flatbed trucks in their yard and that both the trucks and their keys are kept securely locked.
Responding to a sighting of the missing truck being driven erratically in the area, police were informed that another Brookside vehicle had attempted to stop the flatbed truck, but that Gudanowski attempted to strike the second Brookside driver who narrowly escaped injury.
Minda said that Gudanowski continued to drive erratically through Hasbrouck Heights, striking a non-police vehicle before finally heading north on Route 17 hoping to elude police.
Several police cars followed the stolen truck and as the chase neared the New York State Thruway, the hood of one of the police cruisers became wedged under the rear portion of the truck. Gudanowski continued northbound onto the Thruway, dragging the now attached police cruiser along with it. Hoping to evade police, Gudanowski executed a u-turn on the Thruway, returning south towards Suffern, with two cruisers from the New York State Police also joining in on the chase.
The truck exited the Thruway onto Route 59 where the truck was finally stopped in Hillburn and Gudanowski, who sustained minor injuries, was taken into custody. Two police officers also sustained minor injuries in the chase which damaged two New York State Police vehicles and one East Rutherford Police car and ultimately involved the East Rutherford, Suffern, Ramapo and New York State Police Departments.
Gudanowski, 50 years old is currently staying in Hackensack, and was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, possession of stolen property, eluding and motor vehicle violations.
He was previously arrested for driving while intoxicated after being involved in a minor accident in 2010 as reported by NorthJersey.com and according to the Bergen County Sheriff’s office he was arrested on December 11th and charged with burglary and criminal mischief with damage in Hackensack. Gudanowski was released on his own recognizance a day later after posting a bond in the amount of $5,000.01.