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Wild Police Chase Ends In Fiery Crash In Jersey City

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A wild police chase through the streets of Jersey City ended in a fiery crash late Sunday.

The Hudson County Prosecutor's office is handling the investigation, along with its internal affairs unit. They said Jersey City police tried to pull the car over late Sunday night, but it took off along Route 1 & 9 Tonnelle Avenue, 1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reported.

During the pursuit, police fired several shots at the car as it caused accidents and then crashed into a utility pole, taking another vehicle with it.

Flames burst from two cars wrapped around the telephone pole, and downed electric wires fueling the flames.

"I saw two cars. One was completely up in flames, there was another car next to that, that was also starting to catch on fire," said witness Tom Evans. "There was a guy in the driver's seat, the cops were trying to pull out of the car."

Another man was working in a motel office when the fiery crash caused a power outage.

A 28-year-old innocent victim in the car was badly burned, and the driver police were pursuing was also recovering in the hospital late Monday.

That driver – identified as Leo Pinkston, 48, of Jersey City – was facing eluding and assault charges.

Several police officers also suffered minor injuries and had been released from the hospital by Monday evening.

Why driver was stopped to begin with is under investigation. But moments earlier at around 11:15 p.m., officers responded to a call about shots fired and followed a suspect speeding away from the scene, CBS2's Magdalena Doris reported.

About a mile from where the initial call came in, witnesses said they saw squad cars getting into formation on Tonnelle Avenue.

"They came out into the middle of the road and created a barricade," Evans said. "As that barricade was being created, there was a loud boom. Two cars smashed into one another and into a telephone pole as well."

As officers worked to rescue a trapped driver inside one vehicle, another man took off running from the scene, Doris reported.

"There was another guy that flew out of one of the cars," Evans said. "They were aggressive after him, handcuffed him and threw him in the back of a cop car."

There was word late Monday on if the person who was taken into custody was wanted in the shots fired incident.

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