A man who took police on a wild ride through Seaside Heights and Ortley Beach last summer has pleaded guilty to a number of offenses related to the case and will likely serve a lengthy prison term.
Antwan McPhatter, 26, of Staten Island, N.Y., entered a guilty plea this week before Superior Court Judge Rochelle Gizinski, admitting to driving while intoxicated, eluding police, leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage, and motor vehicle offenses. Prosecutors said they will be recommending a six-year prison term at the time of sentencing, scheduled for Nov. 1, 2022.
According to prosecutors, the chaotic scene played out Aug. 19, 2021. At about 6:30 p.m., Seaside Heights police were called to a hit-and-run accident in the area of Blaine Avenue and the Boulevard. The report indicated that a 2015 Jeep Cherokee crashed into an unoccupied vehicle and fled the scene.
Seaside Heights officers attempted to execute a motor vehicle stop of a vehicle matching the description of the Jeep, which they spotted traveling in the wrong direction on Sheridan Avenue. As officers activated their lights and sirens, the vehicle sped away “at a high rate of speed,” police said, ultimately traveling northbound on Route 35.
Officers saw the Cherokee make a right turn onto Beach Drive in Ortley Beach, after which the the SUV came to a stop at the end of Beach Drive, but accelerated westbound towards Route 35. The Cherokee then failed to stop at a stop sign, entered Route 35, and collided with a marked Seaside Heights police vehicle.
As a result of the crash with the police car, the Cherokee struck a utility pole, which fell on top of it. The driver of the Cherokee, identified as McPhatter, attempted to flee the scene on foot at which time he was apprehended.
Two Seaside Heights police officers were ultimately transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River, where they were treated for minor injuries and released. McPhatter was likewise transported to Community Medical Center, where a blood draw was taken from him pursuant to a court-authorized warrant. He was later brought to the Ocean County Jail, where he has been lodged since the date of his arrest.
According to prosecutors, laboratory results of McPhatter’s blood draw – received by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office in the course of the investigation – revealed that McPhatter was “under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana at the time of the incident” and was therefore unfit to operate a motor vehicle, a statement said.