NEW BRUNSWICK — A dozen State Police vehicles chased a car on the New Jersey Turnpike on Friday morning at speeds reaching an estimated 75 mph, according to a witness.

State Police spokesman Alejandro Goez said the pursuit began just before 8 a.m. when the male driver of a Ford Focus refused to stop for an officer on Route 78 and then headed south on the Turnpike truck lanes.

Police, however, called off the chase for safety reasons at Exit 9 for Route 18 in East Brunswick.

Mike Greiner, who saw part of the chase, estimated that speeds reached 75 mph in the outer lanes around Exit 12 in Carteret. He first saw two police vehicles, but "that increased to over a dozen as they drove south."

At the Woodbridge Avenue overpass north of Exit 9,Greiner noticed "some sort of barricade put across the road."

Greiner, who was driving in the car lanes, didn't think the anyone involved was driving erratically.

"Everyone in the truck lanes seemed to move to the right. Traffic flowed normally in the car lanes except for minor rubbernecking," Greiner said.

It would be at least the third State Police pursuit this year.

Devonte Brooke, 21, of Millville, died in January when his Lincoln Continental Town Car hit a utility pole along Route 49 in Bridgeton.

A Massachusetts man led State Police for 30 miles on the Turnpike on March 13 after he failed to pull over for a traffic stop in East Windsor.

Nearly a week later, on March 19,  a man driving a car stolen from Hartford, Connecticut, was pursued until the car became disabled and the driver pulled over near the Joyce Kilmer service area in East Brunswick.

Police in New Jersey are allowed to pursue suspects in vehicles if they are wanted in connection to a serious crime or if they pose “an immediate threat to the safety of the public or other police officers.” Officers are supposed to call off a chase if the distance between vehicles becomes too great or if the chase becomes “a clear and unreasonable danger,” according to the state attorney general’s guidelines.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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