NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- A New Canaan police officer escaped potentially life-threatening injuries after his arm became ensnared in a seatbelt as officers pulled a possibly suicidal man out of car Thursday night, police said.
The officer, identified by the Advocate as 28-year department veteran Lt. Fred Pickering, was dragged for about 35 feet until the 2004 Volkswagen Jetta came to a stop in a snowbank on Old Stamford Road in New Canaan shortly after 6 p.m., police said. The officer injuries to his knees, neck and back and was treated and released from Norwalk Hospital.
The driver, Erik Kuranko, of 77 Grove St., New Canaan, was charged with assault on a police officer, interfering with a police officer, weapon in a motor vehicle and reckless driving.
The dramatic incident began when police received a 911 call at 6:10 p.m. Thursday from someone saying a man threatening suicide was traveling south on Old Stamford Road with his headlights off, police said.
Officers stopped the vehicle on Old Stamford Road just north of Weed Street and approached the car but couldn't see the driver's hands, police said. They didn't know whether he had a weapon, police said.
An officer broke the Jetta's window to gain access to the driver, but as officers reached in to remove his seat belt Kuranko took his foot off the brake and pressed the accelerator, police said.
He was pulled from the Jetta by officers, but while the vehicle was in motion, Pickering’s arm was caught in the seat belt, police said. He was dragged 35 feet before the vehicle hit a snowbank and stopped, police said.
A knife was located in the center console area of the vehicle, police said.
Kuranko was released from Norwalk Hospital on Friday morning.
He did not post the $15,000 bond and was taken to Norwalk Superior Court to be arraigned.
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