Long Branch Police say they have made an arrest from the motor vehicle crash that left three of their officers injured in February.

Michael Priester, 24, of Neptune was wanted for his alleged role in a drug deal investigation.

He led police in a pursuit on February 25 around 6:35 pm from Morris Avenue to Ocean Avenue and South Lake Drive where the chase ended with an accident at the intersection when a patrol car and detective collided causing extensive damage to both vehicles.

Officer Joshua Wagner was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center where he was treated and hospitalized for several days.

He is still recuperating from his injuries and is not yet able to return to duty.

Detectives Patrick Vaccaro and Daniel Richards were treated and released at Monmouth Medical Center and returned to duty that evening.

The accused vehicle was also damaged in the pursuit and found abandoned a few blocks from the accident.

A search was conducted in the area, but the occupants had fled the scene.

The vehicle pursuit stemmed from a narcotics distribution investigation.

Detectives continued the investigation and were able to issue warrants for Priester whose last known address is in Neptune.

He was arrested for Resisting Arrest, Eluding in a Motor Vehicle-2nd degree crime, Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) within 500 feet of a park, a 2nd degree crime and Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) within 1000 feet of a school, a 3rd degree crime.

Information on the other suspects who fled the vehicle was not made available in the release from Long Branch Police.

“Remember, it’s the accused that decides to initiate the pursuit by failing to stop for the police. The Long Branch Police Department was not going to rest until the person responsible for placing our residents and officers in danger was identified and apprehended," Chief Jason Roebuck said. "Vehicle pursuits are inherently dangerous, but as in this case sometimes our officers have no choice but to pursue a dangerous criminal. The Long Branch Police will continue to vigilantly enforce the law while remembering that the safety of the public and our officers are of utmost importance. Vehicle Pursuits are governed by the Attorney General’s Guidelines, and specifically state when officers can initiate and continue pursuits. These guidelines were followed. The pursuit is being reviewed by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office."

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