HOPATCONG BOROUGH, NJ (Sussex County) – Three officers were injured after chasing an Hopatcong man wanted for allegedly taking his father’s vehicle without his consent.
Michael Liska Jr, 25, was charged with eluding on foot, resisting arrest, possession of heroin, possession of crack cocaine and taking a vehicle without the owners consent.
On Friday at 7:20 p.m., Michael Liska’s father called police to report that his son took his vehicle without his consent and was worried that his son was going to Paterson to buy heroin, Hopatcong Police Captain Thomas Kmetz said.
At 12:42 a.m., Officer Kern saw Liska’s vehicle at the Quick Chek, located on Lakeside Blvd, and then parked behind the vehicle so Liska couldn’t leave, Kmetz said.
Liska was in the vehicle going through a backpack and Officer Kern had him go to the back of the vehicle to speak with him. Officer Kern told Liska that his father reported the vehicle taken and then was told to put his hands behind his back, Kmetz said.
Liska then ran and Officer Kern followed Liska around the back of Quick Chek while giving commands to stop. They ran across Lakeside Blvd, and into a wooded area. Officer Kern then became entangled in thorn bushes, Kmetz said.
Officer Fullman cut off Liska in a swampy area and was then tackled by the officer. Liska refused to give the officers his right hand. Officer Kern hit Liska on his thigh with his flashlight and Officer Fullman punched Liska 3 times on the top left side of his head. Officer Fullman and Officer Kern were then able to get Liska handcuffed, Kmetz said.
In Liska’s pocket were allegedly empty glass vials with the residue of suspected crack cocaine, Kmetz said.
A search of his backpack in the vehicle turned up wax folds of heroin, empty and full vials of crack cocaine, a glass pipe with brass chore boy (used to smoke crack), and a used hypodermic syringe, Kmetz said.
Also found were credit cards in the names of Jose A. Ortiz and Maria S Eryes. Officers are working on finding these victims, Kmetz said.
From the chase, Officer Kern sustained a back injury and is currently out on workers comp. Officer Fullman and Lisko received numerous lacerations from the thorn bushes, Kmetz said.
Lisko was taken to the hospital to be checked out. When he was released, he was taken back to headquarters, charged, processed and taken to the Sussex County Jail, Kmetz said.