Police officers pursuing three vehicles during a high-speed chase that began in Trenton, N.J. and ended in the Levittown area made a deadly discovery when it was over -- the dead body of New Jersey man in the vehicle’s trunk, police said.
Dardar Paye, 33, of Maplewood, N.J. -- a town in Essex County in northern New Jersey -- died of an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Payne's body was discovered when officers popped the trunk of one of the vehicles on U.S. Route 1 near the Oxford Valley Mall exit early Sunday.
The events that led to his apparent homicide remain a mystery to police.
Trenton police and Pennsylvania State Troopers were able to stop two of the vehicles and make four arrests, but what was still under investigation Monday were the events that led to Paye’s death, police said.
Paye was a convicted felon in New Jersey, having served time in the New Jersey prison system from June of 2005 to March 2006 for a drug dealing sentence, state records show.
Arrested during the 1 a.m. Sunday incident were: Phobus Sullivan, 27, Mack Edwards, 25, Danuweli Keller, 23, and Abdutawab Kiazolu, 22, all of Trenton. Trenton police said Monday that the suspects are being held only on charges related to the pursuit and none have been charged in connection with Paye’s killing.
Sullivan also has a felony criminal record from New Jersey, having served six months in the state prison system in 2009 for burglary, records show.
The bizarre incident began at about 12:55 a.m. Sunday, Trenton police said.
City Detectives Jason Astbury and Charles Steever were in a south Trenton neighborhood when they saw three vehicles -- two cars and a minivan -- speed past. The detectives tried to pull over the vehicles, but the trio of vehicles fled faster.
The chase wound its way onto the Route 1 bridge spanning Trenton and Morrisville, Pa. and then onto Route 1 south, police said.
One of the cars -- a four-door Buick -- came to a stop on the highway near the Oxford Valley exit and Sullivan, the alleged driver, bolted on foot. Trenton Detective Elizer Ramos, who had joined the pursuit with other officers, apprehended Sullivan moments later, police aid.
Detective Astbury arrested vehicle’s passenger, Edwards, and in the course of searching the car found Paye's body.
The minivan successfully eluded a Trenton police car, which police said broke down during the pursuit, but Pennsylvania troopers were able to stop the minivan a short distance later on Interstate 95 near Trevose, and arrested Keller and Kiazolu.
The third vehicle -- a silver Mitsubishi -- exited Route 1 at the Route 13 exit and was able to get away, police said.
As of Monday evening, all four suspects were jailed in Bucks County, Pa. awaiting extradition to New Jersey.
Trenton police said anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of the silver Mitsubishi is asked to call lead homicide investigator Detective Michael Krunchinsky at 609-989-4164 or the Trenton police confidential tipline at 609-989-3663.