A Passaic County sheriff's officer escaped serious injury after his cruiser was rammed from behind in Paterson by a driver who then took off, authorities said.
Officer Jason Michaels chased the hit-and-run driver, but a damaged tire disabled his patrol car.
His colleagues, however, found the other car and charged the driver.
The Volkswagen Beetle had struck the officer's car after 41-year-old Juan Carlos Carrillo Ruiz ran a red light at the intersection of Broadway and Rosa Parks Boulevard around 3 p.m., Passaic County Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik said.
"Michaels’ unit went up on the sidewalk and hit a US Postal Service mailbox and a parked vehicle," the sheriff said, adding that the collision damaged the rear passenger-side tire and driver's side bumper and fender.
Michaels tried chasing Ruiz, "but his vehicle became disabled in the area of Madison Avenue and 12th Avenue due to the damaged tire," Berdnik said.
The unoccupied Beetle was found soon after near Madison and 14th Avenue.
With help from the county prosecutor's office, Ruiz was identified and charged with aggravated assault, assault by auto resulting in bodily injury and eluding police.
Michaels was treated at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center and released soon after, Berdnik said.
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