An Essex County man has been sentenced to 18 years in state prison for leading police on a lengthy car chase and subsequent foot pursuit last year, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.
Dion Cromwell, 34, of Irvington must serve at least six years of that sentence before becoming eligible for parole, according to the terms set down Friday by state Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Donohue.
It was shortly before 4 a.m. on Sunday, January 20, 2013 when two Elizabeth police officers attempted to pull over a Dodge Charger being driven by Cromwell on Routes 1&9 after he was spotted committing multiple motor vehicle violations, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Travis Carter, who prosecuted the case. Cromwell ignored the officers’ commands until he struck a metal guardrail and spun around in the roadway, facing the opposite direction of travel, Carter said.
At that point the officers exited their patrol car in order to arrest Cromwell, but he accelerated in the direction of one of them before veering off and speeding away again.
With pieces falling from the car due to damage from the collision with the guardrail, Cromwell’s Charger became disabled on an exit ramp near Frontage Road in Newark shortly thereafter. Following an extensive search conducted by multiple law-enforcement agencies, Cromwell was spotted attempting to enter a warehouse on the grounds of Newark Liberty International Airport, and he was arrested approximately 45 minutes after the initial vehicle pursuit began.
Following a two-week trial held last month, a Union County jury convicted Cromwell of second-degree eluding police and two counts of resisting arrest.