Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Gloucester County man was sentenced to state prison today for dragging a New Jersey state trooper with his car during a violent incident following a traffic stop. He also rammed the vehicle of an off-duty State Police captain while trying to escape.
Daren J. Rebel, 22, of Westville was sentenced to four years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Christine Allen-Jackson in Gloucester County. Rebel was found guilty at trial on Jan. 30 of charges 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. Those charges involved the trooper he dragged with his car. He was acquitted of several charges related to his conduct against the State Police captain.
Supervising Deputy Attorney General Andrew Johns and Deputy Attorney General Brian Carney tried the case and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice.
“Anyone who deliberately harms a police officer or puts an officer in peril deserves the sternest punishment under our laws,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “By putting offenders like Rebel in prison, we send a powerful message that we will not tolerate any attack or threat against the officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect us.”
“Every motor vehicle stop poses some potential danger to police officers, as in this case, where Rebel chose to use his vehicle as a deadly weapon,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Fortunately, tragedy was averted in this case, and Rebel is going to prison where he belongs.”
“Rebel demonstrated a blatant disregard for the lives of the innocent citizens and troopers who encountered him on that day,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “His criminal conduct has no place in a civilized society, and now he will be sent to prison where he is no longer a threat to the public. We are relieved that no one was seriously injured as result of his reckless behavior.”
Rebel was indicted by a state grand jury on Sept. 25, 2013, as a result of an investigation by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team. The investigation determined that on Aug. 10, 2012, multiple 911 calls were made regarding a red Toyota Camry driving recklessly on Route 55 North. A New Jersey state trooper spotted the car and gave chase, eventually following the car off Exit 58 for the Deptford Mall. At the intersection, the trooper approached the car and attempted to remove Rebel, the driver. Rebel then accelerated and the trooper was almost pulled underneath the vehicle.
A New Jersey State Police captain, who was off-duty at the time, happened to be stopped at the intersection and began to turn his Chevy Impala to assist the trooper. Rebel struck the captain’s vehicle in the intersection, and the trooper who originally stopped Rebel was thrown off Rebel’s Camry and dragged by the car. The captain then gave chase and followed Rebel’s car behind the BJ’s Wholesale Club on Deptford Center Road. There, Rebel parked the Camry, and he and his three passengers exited the automobile.
When the captain drove up behind the car, Rebel returned to the Camry, drove the car in reverse and struck the captain’s vehicle again. As the captain exited his Impala, Rebel turned his car around. The captain drew his weapon but Rebel began to drive directly at the captain. The captain narrowly jumped out of the way and fired three shots at Rebel. All three shots struck the car but missed Rebel. As Rebel fled the scene, the captain remained and secured the three passengers who had not re-entered the Camry. Rebel’s vehicle was subsequently located and he was arrested.
Supervising Deputy Attorney General Andrew Johns and Deputy Attorney General Brian Carney were assisted at trial by Analyst Nathalie Kurzawa. Former Deputy Attorney General Andrew S. Taff and State Police Detective Sgt. Glenn Garrels coordinated the investigation for the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team, along with other members of the State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice and the Deptford Township Police Department.