NJ street-corner musician leads cops on hours-long chase in U-Haul
🚚 The pursuit began in a Howell restaurant parking lot
🚚 Driver Zachariah Hartman led police on a pursuit through 8 towns
🚚 Hartman is known for standing on a corner in Howell playing his guitar
HOWELL — An unruly restaurant customer led police on a two-hour, eight-town pursuit while driving a U-Haul truck Saturday night.
Howell police Sgt. Peter Kuppler said they were called to the Longhorn Steakhouse on the northbound of Route 9 after Zachariah Hartman, 38, of Toms River, became “erratic and confrontational” with the staff.
Hartman is known for playing the guitar at the intersection of Oak Glen Road and Route 547 in Howell.
U-Haul police chase
Hartman took off in the truck and struck a Howell police vehicle in the parking lot and then two more during the pursuit, disabling one of them.
The chase continued through Lakewood, Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, Millstone, Plumsted and Colts Neck before the pursuit ended in Jackson.
A struggle at the end
Video posted by The Lakewood Scoop shows the truck surrounded by police as they ordered him to get out from behind the driver's side.
Hartman appeared to struggle with officers after they opened the door. He was pushed to the ground and cuffed before being walked from the scene.
Hartman was charged with two counts of eluding, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of obstruction. He is being held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institute pending a detention hearing.
A 'fine spirit with positive vibes'
Kuppler said police occasionally perform welfare checks on Hartman who normally keeps to himself. He doesn't solicit for money, according to Kuppler.
Doreen Hartman on the Howell Happenings NJ Facebook page in 2018 said Zac writes his own music and just wants to share his music. She described him as a "fine spirit with positive vibes."
Zac is unable to work for undisclosed reasons and lived with his mother at the time.
Previous reporting by Matt Ryan was included in this report
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