MILLVILLE — Police would not characterize Sunday morning’s pursuit as a high-speed one — instead, they said, they were following an erratic driver moments before a fatal crash.
Police Lt. Ed Zadroga said the pursuit — which began on High and Harrison streets — was short, and it ended less than a mile later, when Timothy Seidel allegedly struck Officer Christopher Reeves’ patrol car at Broad and Third streets around 2:15 a.m. Reeves died at the scene.
Reeves, 40, was giving a tour of the city to new Police Department Officer Jonathan Seidel. Reeves and Jonathan Seidel, who is not related to Timothy Seidel, were on their way to assist city police when the accident occurred, authorities have said.
Jonathan Seidel underwent surgery late Monday at Cooper University Hospital in Camden for injuries suffered to his left arm during the crash, Zadroga said. Jonathan Seidel, 27, is listed in stable, he said.
Timothy Seidel, of Commercial Township, remains in critical but stable at Cooper, Zadroga said. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated manslaughter and single counts eluding, vehicular homicide and aggravated assault.
City police began following Seidel, 23 after he hit a police cruiser a block away at Buck and Harrison streets, Zadroga said.
While officials with the state PBA said Sunday that Timothy Seidel was being chased by city police, Zadroga refused to characterize the incident as a high-speed pursuit.
Zadroga also would not comment on whether Timothy Seidel, of Commercial Township was intoxicated when the crash occurred.
Authorities have released little few details about the incident since Sunday.
Bail for Timothy Seidel has been set at $500,000 cash.
Meanwhile, city officials are planning for a large crowd of local residents and law enforcement for Reeve’s funeral and burial Friday.
A viewing and memorial service are scheduled for between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Lakeside Middle School on Sharp Street. Burial will follow at Mount Pleasant Cemetery on Main Street.
Zadroga said local officials should have their plan in place by today. He said it will likely shut down traffic in parts of the city around Sharp and Main streets for at least five hours.
Plans involve allowing all Police Department members who want to attend the funeral and burial to attend those proceedings, Zadroga said. The city is getting offers from many law-enforcement agencies — including the Bridgeton and Vineland police departments and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office — willing to cover for those local officers who attend the services and burial, he said.
Zadroga said the outpouring of support from law-enforcement agencies and residents is appreciated by a Police Department trying to cope with Reeves’ death.
“We’re not a huge department,” Zadroga said of the city’s 65-member police force. “We all know each other and everybody’s families. We’re a close knit group.”
Reeves’ wife, Susan, is also a Police Department member. The couple has a 2-year-old son, Alexander.
Local authorities said the fatal accident occurred a day before they were to notify Timothy Seidel that his application to be a police officer here was rejected. Timothy Seidel did not meet the city’s residency requirements, as he was living in another municipality when he took the Civil Service examination earlier this year, they said.
Jonathan Seidel joined the Police Department in June. He and his family live in Pennsville, Salem County.
City police said Jonathan Seidel transferred from the Salem County Sheriff’s Office to the Police Department under a Civil Service regulation that does not require him to take up residency in the city.
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