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Published on April 1st, 2013 | by Daniel Perlman


East Orange man plows stolen car into dealership, faces kidnapping charges

A police chase through three towns early this morning ended in a tangle of smashed cars and kidnapping charges for the driver of a stolen Chevrolet Malibu, who lost control and plowed into a dozen Cadillacs parked at a dealership on Route 22 in Watchung, authorities said.

L’Kapree Bethea, 23, of East Orange, jumped into the Malibu in Piscataway as township police were investigating a report of a violent dispute purportedly involving Bethea and an unidentified woman about 1:30 a.m., the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said.

The woman was sitting in the back seat of the Malibu, which is owned by a friend of hers, when Bethea pulled off, according to a statement released by the office.

The prosecutor’s office gave this account:

Piscataway police pursued the Malibu until it reached Dunellen, where police there picked up the chase.

Bethea then veered into the eastbound lanes of Route 22 and proceeded into Watchung, where he lost control of the Chevrolet just east of Raymond Avenue and slammed into the row of parked cars at Crown Cadillac.

Bethea and the unidentified woman were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, the release said. The woman remained at the hospital for observation last night, although her condition and the nature of her injuries were not disclosed.

Twelve cars were damaged in the incident, according to Jeffrey Genovese, executive manager for Crown Cadillac.

The Malibu also toppled a streetlight, which crashed through showroom window, and Genovese estimated the total damage at about $300,000.

Still, he said, “I’m laughing instead of crying.”

In addition to kidnapping, Bethea was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, theft, theft of a motor vehicle, criminal mischief and driving while intoxicated.

He was being held at the county jail in North Brunswick, and as of tonight no bail terms had yet been set, the prosecutor’s office said

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Source: “East Orange man plows stolen car into dealership, faces kidnapping charges,” March 30, 2013.

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