N.J. man convicted in assault on officers

A Westville man accused of dragging a New Jersey state trooper with his car and plowing into a State Police captain's vehicle was found guilty Friday of aggravated assault and other charges relating to the 2012 incident, during which he eluded arrest even amid gunfire.

Daren J. Rebel, 22, was found guilty of four charges by a jury in Gloucester County Superior Court, according to the state Attorney General's Office. One of the charges - second-degree aggravated assault - carries a prison sentence of five to 10 years.

The incident occurred Aug. 10, 2012, when the trooper tried to stop Rebel, who was driving a red Toyota Camry north on Route 55. Several 911 calls reported the car driving recklessly, officials said.

The Attorney General's office offered the following account of the incident:

The trooper followed the car off an exit to an intersection near the Deptford Mall. When the trooper approached the car to remove the driver, Rebel allegedly "accelerated and the trooper was almost pulled underneath the vehicle."

Rebel then struck a Chevy Impala being driven by an off-duty State Police captain, who was at the intersection and turned his car to try to assist the state trooper. The trooper was thrown off of the car and sustained a knee injury and bruised hip, officials said.

The captain followed the Camry to the BJ's Wholesale Club on Deptford Center Road, where Rebel and three passengers got out of the car. When the captain pulled his car behind the Camry, authorities said, Rebel got back into his car and drove it in reverse into the captain's Impala. As the captain left the car, Rebel drove "directly at the captain." The captain fired three bullets at the Camry, but Rebel escaped until he was later found and arrested.

Rebel was found guilty of second-degree aggravated assault while eluding police, second-degree eluding, third-degree aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and fourth-degree aggravated assault. He was acquitted of four other charges. Two attempted murder charges were previously dismissed by Superior Court Judge Christine Allen-Jackson.

A lawyer for Rebel did not immediately return a request for comment Friday. Sentencing is scheduled for March 13.

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