A pair of Middlesex County residents was arrested after they crashed into the woods in a stolen car in Manchester on Thursday, touching off a 45-minute search, authorities said.
The crash involving George Noonan and Kristina Noonan-Bath of Laurence Harbor section of Old Bridge occurred shortly after police called off a brief high-speed chase late Thursday morning near Manchester Boulevard, said police Chief Lisa Parker.
She said the chase began shortly after 11 a.m. when Patrolman Michael Terranova while on routine patrol spotted a GMC Envoy that had been reported stolen out of Old Bridge.
Terranova tried to pull over the SUV, but the driver, instead of stopping, sped off, she said.
After briefly chasing the stolen car, Terranova called off the pursuit in the interest of safety and after getting a full description of the vehicle, she said.
Officers passing the Manchester Boulevard intersection with Wranglebrook Road a short time later noticed cars pulled over to the side of the road and the occupants looking into the woods, Parker said.
The occupants were looking at the stolen Envoy, which had crashed 100 feet into the woods, she said.
Apparently unable to open the doors to the SUV, the suspects climbed through the windows and ran off, prompting police to initiate a search of the area, she said.
As a precaution, a nearby daycare facility, As We Grow Childcare, was notified and placed on temporary lockdown and a Nixle emergency message alerted the public to stay clear of the area, she said.
Joining Manchester police in the search were Manchester K-9 Officer Marc Micciulla and his partner, Storm; Ocean County Sheriff’s K-9 Officer Christine Casullo and the New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit, the chief said.
After 45 minutes, Officer Christian Nazario found Noonan, 31, and Noonan-Bath, 32, walking along Wranglebrook Road, Parker said.
She did not immediately have information about the relationship between the two suspects.
Noonan was charged with possession of hypodermic needles, possession of drug paraphernalia, receiving stolen property, eluding, and hindering apprehension. Officers also determined he had several warrants from "numerous" jurisdictions, the chief said.
Noonan-Bath was arrested on warrants totaling $5,500 out of several jurisdictions, Parker said.
Both suspects were sent to the Ocean County Jail in Toms River.
Manchester Township Police Traffic Safety Officer Douglas Higgins is investigating the crash.