ELIZABETH — An Essex County man is facing up to 26 years and 6 months in state prison after being found guilty of leading police in two towns on a prolonged pursuit before being caught with heroin in 2012.
Following a weeklong trial before state Superior Court Judge Joseph Donohue, a Union County jury deliberated for 45 minutes Thursday before returning guilty verdicts against Shareef Mayfield, 33, of Orange.
Mayfield had been charged with second-degree eluding police, third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and fourth-degree obstruction of justice.
The date was Jan. 18, 2012 when Hillside police officers pulled over a Chrysler Sebring for a minor traffic infraction, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Jill O’Malley and Travis Carter, who prosecuted the case.
When the officers approached the vehicle and attempted to speak with the driver, who was later identified as Mayfield, he sped off, nearly knocking one of them over.
Mayfield then led officers on an approximately two-mile pursuit from Hillside into Union at high speeds, O’Malley and Carter said. Mayfield ultimately crashed the Sebring, which belonged to his then-girlfriend, on Vauxhall Road in Union, then ran from the scene.
Mayfield subsequently led the officers on a brief foot pursuit, crossing all 10 lanes of the Garden State Parkway before heading into a residential area, where he was finally apprehended and found to be in possession of eight bags of heroin.
Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for April 11. Mayfield will be subjected to an extended prison term due to a criminal history that includes 17 prior felony convictions, mostly drug-related offenses.