CRANFORD — A two-car crash on Wednesday morning that sent another driver to the hospital involved a Mercedes that was stolen while left idling in a Clark driveway, police said.

Following the crash, 18-year-old Tyquil Baldwin, of Elizabeth, was arrested and charged with second-degree counts of aggravated assault and eluding, third-degree receiving stolen property and fourth-degree resisting arrest.

Around 7:30 a.m., Cranford police received a call after a resident saw a white Mercedes traveling suspiciously slowly through their neighborhood, stopping behind several parked vehicles.

The same car was then seen driving recklessly on Walnut Avenue and speeding towards South Avenue, as an officer tried to pull the vehicle over.

The Mercedes, driven by Baldwin, then crashed into a second vehicle at the intersection of South Avenue and High Street.

Baldwin ditched the car and ran, but was ultimately caught after a chase through several backyards.

The driver of the second vehicle was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

At least two victims died in Central Jersey crashes last month, after their own vehicles were hit by cars that ultimately turned out to be stolen.

Arturo Tlapa Luna
Arturo Tlapa Luna (Antonio Romeo DiSantillo via GoFundMe)

Freehold man killed in Rt. 9 crash

On Nov. 9, 33-year-old Arturo Tlapa Luna, of Freehold, died after his family's car was hit on Route 9 in Old Bridge by a stolen car being driven by a 19-year-old from Somerset.

Samuel Villar and a 17-year-old juvenile had been trying to burglarize cars in nearby Marlboro, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office. The car they were in had been reported stolen from New Brunswick on Oct. 23.

As police responded, Villar led a chase that ended in the tragic crash in Old Bridge.

Villar was charged with aggravated manslaughter and four counts of aggravated assault, as well as eluding, employing a juvenile and theft.

Manuel Pujols (Julia Venecia Pujols via GoFundMe) Woodbridge man killed in Rt 1&9 crash hit by stolen car Thanksgiving
Manuel Pujols (Julia Venecia Pujols via GoFundMe)

Deadly Thanksgiving crash

On Thanksgiving night, Nov. 24, 51-year-old Manuel Pujols, of Woodbridge, died after his pickup overturned on Routes 1&9 and was then struck by a stolen car.

Pujols' 2014 Dodge Ram pickup truck had hit a divider and rolled in the southbound lanes just past Route 35 (St. Georges Avenue), police said.

Moments later, the truck was hit by a 2009 Hyundai Elantra, reported stolen, which had three young men from Elizabeth inside.

Pujols was survived by a 21-year-old son, according to a GoFundMe campaign setup to raise funds for his family.

They fled the car but were picked up by police shortly after — Ulyssee McDonald Jr., 23, Terrence McDonald, 19, and a 17-year-old juvenile, were all charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.

Winter car warning

Baldwin was being held at Union County jail, pending a detention hearing.

Residents were warned about protecting against car thefts during the colder season.

“We often see an uptick in early morning motor thefts during the winter months as people commonly will let their cars warm up in the driveway,” Cranford Police Chief Ryan Greco said in a written statement.

With previous reporting by Dan Alexander

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

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