Two suspects have been arrested after a police chase in New Jersey ended with a stolen church van slamming into a NJ TRANSIT bus, injuring several people.
Newark police said it all started around 11:30 p.m. Thursday with a series of three armed robberies involving three different vehicles.
Police say two masked suspects first robbed two people at gunpoint within five minutes of each other in Newark. The third robbery involving the church van happened around 1:15 a.m. Friday, police said.
Soon after, police said Maplewood police saw the van and followed it into Newark. During the chase, Maplewood police crashed into another at the intersection of Colgate and Broom. No one was seriously hurt.
Rickey Hope is a security guard patrolman in the area and happened to catch the chase.
"It startled me because this guy cut through a one way," he told WCBS-TV's Jenna DeAngelis. "The driver had a mask on his face."
Then, the Essex County Sheriff's Department continued the pursuit. That's when police said the van crashed into a NJ TRANSIT bus near Springfield Avenue and S. 17th Street in Newark.
The bus and the van ended up on the property of the United House of Prayer For All People.
The final moments of the crash were caught on surveillance video. In it, the bus appears to rush across Springfield Avenue, the white van besides it, running right onto the church lawn.
As seconds go by, police rush up to the intersection.
"I came outside and I heard a boom and there were several passenger getting out of this van and the NJ TRANSIT bus," neighbor Thomas Judd said. "Newark police was on the scene very fast."
Police said ten people on the bus were taken to the hospital, but are expected to be OK.
The stolen van involved belongs to Bethlehem Judah Christian Fellowship, a church in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
"I was shocked," said Florham Park resident Michelle Clark. "A church van - why?"
Clark was dropping her child off to the church for camp when she learned her daughter, among other campers, wouldn't be able to go on a scheduled bowling trip Friday because the van was wrecked.
"It's just sad that these kids can't really go on this trip today because of criminals," she said. "The church used the van to pick the kids up and drop them off home."
Police said the two suspects were arrested and a weapon was also recovered at the scene.
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