Man accused of riding in stolen car released from jail; officials call for stricter penalties

Dayvon Savage, 24, has already spent two weeks in jail following last month’s incident near Holmdel and Hazlet.

News 12 Staff

Nov 3, 2022, 11:14 PM

Updated 535 days ago

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Two accused car thieves faced a Monmouth County judge on Thursday. Prosecutors say they led police on a chase on the Garden State Parkway. And now several mayors and law enforcement officials are calling for stricter penalties.
Dayvon Savage, 24, has already spent two weeks in jail following last month’s incident near Holmdel and Hazlet. A judge on Thursday ordered him to be released until trial.
Detention hearings like this have come under scrutiny in recent months as vehicle thefts continue to impact neighborhoods all over New Jersey.
Police say Savage and three others were riding in a stolen BMW when they crashed - and then ran and hid from officers in Holmdel. Police say a fourth suspect stole another vehicle which he also crashed further north on the Parkway and got away.
Prosecutors argue these factors are enough to keep Savage in jail.
“The community at large, when impacted by individuals who are engaging in this type of criminal conduct who don't even stop when given commands by law enforcement officers to do so and just end it - but continue to try to get away with it - it impacts the community to the point where people can't feel safe in their own homes,” says Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Merlin Thomas.
Defense attorney Regina Rocco argued that due to the Savage’s age, his high school completion, his responsibilities as a father and only minor past offenses, he should be released.
“What I see, the strength in the state’s case is being is a fourth-degree joyriding and possibly a fourth-degree obstruction or running, for which my client is [pretrial intervention program] eligible,” says Rocco. “And should that fail, he would be entitled a presumption of non-incarceration - a probationary sentence.”
Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul Escandon found in favor of the defense.
“Comb the neighborhoods looking for cars to steal. I think it's just speculative at best by all accounts. It's still an ongoing investigation and to assume facts that are simply just not there, is not the function of this court,” Escandon says. “I think based on the facts that I have before me, I think there are conditions to release that have been placed on Mr. Savage to assure the three goals are met, so I'm going to release him.”
Savage faces five charges, including receiving stolen property, eluding, obstruction of justice and employing a minor to commit a crime.
The other adult suspect, Unique Woodard, remains in jail. His detention hearing is scheduled for next week.
Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden has been very outspoken against the release of suspects involved in car thefts.
"We can now add another brazen offender to the list of the more-than-100 individuals who were released in a two-year period, in connection with similar circumstances of second- and third-degree auto theft," Golden said. “It's outrageous that, after spending two weeks in jail, the net result for this offender is released on supervision, all due to a broken bail reform system."


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