An Essex County man has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison for his role in a robbery and burglary that led to a prolonged high-speed car chase through three towns, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.
Under the terms of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act, Kendell Grimsley, 42, of Newark must serve at least 85 percent of that sentence before becoming eligible for parole. He was sentenced Friday morning before state Superior Court Judge Frederic R. McDaniel.
On the night of September 19, 2010, a woman pulled up to her home on Schley Street in Hillside and was removing items from her car when a vehicle approached her, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Peter Benza, who prosecuted the case. A man later identified as Grimsley exited the vehicle, approached the victim and attempted to grab her purse out of her hands, Benza said.
The 31-year-old woman refused to let go, and Grimsley dragged her across a stretch of pavement, causing injuries that included bruising, swelling, and a laceration before she finally released her purse. Grimsley subsequently reentered his vehicle and left the scene, but not before occupants of a passing vehicle stopped to provide assistance; those witnesses later provided police with a description of the vehicle and its license-plate number. The vehicle, a green Pontiac Bonneville, was found to have been stolen out of Newark.
Two days after the robbery, an occupant of a vehicle parked at the Toys “R” Us off of Route 22 in Union Township noticed a man later identified as Grimsley enter the vacant car next to her and start rummaging through it, according to Benza. She called police, and responding units found that Grimsley had exited the vehicle he had been searching and entered the passenger side of the same Pontiac Bonneville connected to the robbery two nights earlier.
An attempt to pull over the Pontiac at a nearby gas station prompted an approximately 15-minute high-speed chase that extended from Union to Hillside on to Newark, with the driver disregarding stop signs, red lights, and one-way street signs. The vehicle ultimately crashed in Newark, and Grimsley attempted to run away but was apprehended following a brief pursuit on foot.
Grimsley was convicted on charges of second-degree robbery and third-degree burglary following a two-week trial and approximately one day of jury deliberation in June 2013.