HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ – A man who fled from Howell Township police officers on New Year’s Eve had a plan b in mind. He would evade capture by fleeing to Canada. He almost pulled it off if not for the fact that police speculate he was intoxicated after he crashed through barricades at the Canadian border crossing.
“Last night at approximately 10:45 pm, Howell Patrolman Travis Horton attempted to stop a driver he observed driving erratically on Rt.9 northbound,” Police said on Friday. “Upon activating his emergency lights, the driver refused to stop and continued to drive recklessly. Ptlm Horton believed the motorist was intoxicated. The pursuit was authorized based upon the immediate threat to other motorists. Traffic volume was light and speeds weren’t excessive.”
The pursuit continued on Rt.9 through Freehold, Manalapan, Marlboro, Old Bridge and Sayreville then entered onto the Parkway north.
Upon reaching mile marker 125, the siren in Ptlm Horton’s vehicle failed. As per state policy, the siren must be activated during the pursuit. As such, Ptlm. Horton terminated the pursuit at approximately 11:05 pm. He was the only unit involved at the time.
The identify of the driver was determined to be 41 year old Lakewood resident Josef Bartol. Criminal and motor vehicle complaints were signed against Bartol and he was entered as wanted into the national police database.
Several hours later, Howell Police were notified by Canadian authorities and US Customs and Border Protection that Josef was in their custody after he rammed through the Canadian border and fled on foot into Canada. He was ultimately captured and is in Canadian custody.
Canadian authorities advised Bartol claimed to have murdered his parents. This is not believed to be true as Lakewood checked the residence. Canadian authorities believe there’s a mental health issue with Bartol. Bartol is expected to be turned over to US CBP.