A Hopatcong man who was riding a quad at night without headlights led an officer on a chase through a borough neighborhood, slammed into a stop sign, tore up a front lawn and escaped into the woods—before being captured days later when the four-wheeler was found on a nearby property, police said.
David Vervalin, whose age was not provided, was charged with criminal mischief, eluding, reckless driving, failure to wear a helmet, failure to use headlights, unregistered quad, driving while suspended, failure to stop and failure to keep right.
According to Lt. Thomas Kmetz, an officer saw Vervalin approaching on the quad without lights on Broadway last Sunday, Sept. 15 at about 7:30 p.m. The quad proceeded onto Knox Way and the rider increased speed when he saw the officer was following, Kmetz said.
During the pursuit, Vervalin went through several stop signs, struck a stop sign on Elmira Trail and ripped up the lawn to get away and eventually turned onto Fisk Trail, Kmetz said.
Vervalin stalled the quad near the intersection of Fisk and Dartmouth Trail, but then took off again when the officer pulled next to the four-wheeler, Kmetz said.
Vervalin turned left onto Ohio Trail and then made a left onto Brown Trail and a right onto Swarthmore Trail, Kmetz said. Vervalin then entered the woods at the end of Vassar Trail, Kmetz said.
A search of the area that night was unsuccessful, but officers responding to Dartmouth Trail for an unrelated incident on Thursday located a quad that matched the description and had front-end damage, Kmetz said.
The quad was parked between a house and a vehicle and the resident said it wasn't his and he wanted it removed from the property, Kmetz said. After it was towed, one of the co-owners of the quad contacted police to find out why it was confiscated, Kmetz said.
After the co-owner watched the patrol car's video of the chase, he identified the rider as Vervalin, the quad's other owner, Kmetz said. Vervalin was arrested, charged and released.