A New York City man was found guilty Wednesday of assault charges in a Somerset County Courthouse after being arrested in 2010 following a high-speed chase that injured a woman.
Julio Rivera, 36, was found guilty of second-degree eluding and second-degree aggravated assault during the course of eluding police.
According to Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano, the incident occurred around 4 p.m. March 21, 2010, after police responded to the Bridgewater Promenade because of a report that a previously stolen pick-up truck and trailer were seen in the parking lot. Soriano said the truck was located, and co-defendant Elvin Caballero was seen inside.
When he saw police, Soriano said, Caballero got out of the truck and entered a Dodge Avenger that was driven by Rivera, before fleeing the parking lot.
Bridgewater Township Police found the Avenger, Soriano said, and signaled for Rivera to stop, but he fled, reaching speeds of about 50 miles per hour while driving on the Promenade Boulevard, despite a posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour.
Soriano said Rivera drove onto Main Street, driving in excess of 60 miles per hour. Around the intersection of Chimney Rock Road and Main Street, Soriano said, Rivera's vehicle struck the rear of another car being driven by a 78-year-old woman, sending it careening into a nearby parking lot.
The woman, Soriano said, sustained injuries to her head, neck and shoulders.
At that point, Soriano said, Rivera continued driving on Main Street, and both he and Caballero fled the vehicle after they skid and crashed into a curb at the corner of Pearl Street.
Police determined, Soriano said, that the two men were hiding in a residential garage on Pearl Street, and they were seen running from the garage and entering another vehicle that was picking them up several hours later.
Soriano said the vehicle was observed by Bridgewater police and stopped on Route 22, where Rivera was taken into custody and Caballero was arrested after a short foot pursuit.
Caballero, Soriano said, previously pleaded guilty to third degree receiving stolen property, third degree resisting arrest and four degree for two counts of resisting arrest.
Rivera's trial lasted six days, Soriano said, and a jury deliberated for about one-and-a-half hours before deciding on the guilty verdict. Rivera, Soriano said, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in New Jersey State Prison, with eight-and-a-half years to be served before the possibility of parole.
Rivera is being held without bail, pending his sentence, which is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2013.