On July 3, 2016, the Lakewood Twp. Police Department attempted to stop a Cadillac DTS for a motor vehicle violation. The driver, later identified as Christian Hernandez-Ruiz, 42, of Lakewood, subsequently fled from police at a high rate of speed causing the pursuit to be called off. When out of sight of police, Hernandez-Ruiz lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree in the area of New Hampshire Ave and Oak St.

Because the crash occurred as a result of Lakewood PD’s efforts to stop the motor vehicle, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office assumed responsibility for the investigation. OCPO’s investigation revealed that the registered owner of the vehicle was the victim of a residential burglary and the keys to the Cadillac DTS were taken by Hernandez-Ruiz. A short time later, Hernandez-Ruiz allegedly came back to the residence and took the vehicle, without the owner’s knowledge or permission.

The investigation findings were presented to OCPO Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Michael Weatherstone, who applied for an arrest warrant for Burglary and Auto Theft. Judge Melanie Donohue Appleby, J.S.C. approved the warrant and set bail at $50,000 no 10% option.

On Monday (7/18) at approximately 5 pm, OCPO Detectives Brad Frank and Anthony Paciulli responded to Jersey Shore Medical Center and arrested Hernandez-Ruiz as he was being released from the hospital. He was lodged in Ocean County Jail in lieu of the $50,000 bail.

The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


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