A man has pleaded guilty to a litany of charges stemming from a 2011 incident that began when he stole a car with children still in it.
Justin Mercer pleaded guilty in Warren County court to charges of carjacking, theft, and alluding police.
Mercer, of Princeton, N.J., was involved in a car accident on I-80 in Allamuchy Township on Oct. 1, 2011, police said. When a passerby stopped to help, Mercer got in the passerby's car and drove off.
Mercer admitted there were two children in the car when he stole it. He drove to a nearby shopping center and dropped them off.
He then continued driving into Hackettstown, where police said he abandoned the stolen vehicle behind a business and proceeded to carjack a second vehicle from the Quick Check store at Route 46 and Stiger Street.
Driving in the second stolen car, police said Mercer returned to I-80, where he was spotted by New Jersey State Police and fled. He led police on a high-speed chase that continued from Morris County into Essex County. Mercer lost control of the vehicle during the chase and crashed on an I-280 exit ramp in Roseland, where he was arrested by state police.
Mercer has yet to be sentenced but could face up to 15 years in prison.