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Suspect Uses Backhoe To Flip Emergency Vehicles, Gets Fatally Shot

Vineland, NJ – A suspect driving a stolen backhoe flipped an ambulance and a Vineland police SUV onto their sides and smashed into multiple other vehicles during a chaotic rampage early Saturday, according to witnesses.

The incident occurred in the Penn Lincoln Mobile Home Park between Pennsylvania Avenue and Bradywine Drive at approximately 5:30 a.m. on Dec. 18, WPVI reported.

Witnesses said they first saw a backhoe driving through the neighborhood and crashing into a red vehicle repeatedly.

The owner of the sedan, Theresa Marie, told KYW she was driving to work when she saw the backhoe driver ahead of her.

Marie said she figured the backhoe would pass by her if she pulled off to the side of the road, but that the driver slammed into her car instead.

“The backhoe was hitting the red car, just kept hitting it, then within a span of maybe like three to five minutes an ambulance pulled up and then the ambulance pulled into the driveway,” resident Nykatora Holley told WPVI.

The suspect slammed into the ambulance, flipping it onto its side, witnesses said.

He then turned his attention to a Vineland police vehicle.

“He crashed into the officer’s car, backed up, and then crashed into it again, and then backed up and then sped off,” Holley recounted. “And he was going pretty fast.”

A video clip captured the moment when the suspect used the machine to ram the Vineland patrol vehicle, pushing it onto its side.

Holley said the entire incident was “terrifying,” WPVI reported.

“I have never seen nothing like this. Not around here,” resident Tom Propheita told the news outlet. “It’s scary, really.”

The destruction ended when a Vineland police officer opened fire on the unidentified suspect, fatally wounding him, WTXF reported.

Officers and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid after the shooting, but the suspect was pronounced dead at approximately 5:45 a.m.

Three Vineland police officers were injured during the chaos, according to police.

They were all treated at a local hospital and have been released to recover at home, WTXF reported.

Police said Marie suffered minor injuries during the attack, KYW reported.

In addition to overturning the ambulance and patrol vehicle, the suspect also left another patrol SUV with significant front-end damage and demolished the red sedan, according to WPVI.

Details regarding the motive for the attack have not been released.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office is handling the ongoing investigation, WTXF reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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