A drunk driver took police on a high-speed chase after striking a Con Edison employee at a work site in Westchester before coming to a crashing halt when he struck a car and unsuccessfully attempted to flee on foot.
A Yonkers police officer was conducting traffic control for Con Ed at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26, when a van sped toward the construction site without slowing down. The driver - later identified as Mount Vernon resident Albert Popolla - then struck the Con Ed worker and took off, ignoring the officer attempting to stop him.
The officer followed Popolla’s white van, attempting to conduct a traffic stop without success. Police said that Popolla continued north in an effort to evade police, driving recklessly and traveling the wrong way on North Broadway into oncoming traffic. According to police, Popolla disregarded multiple traffic control devices and sped through several red lights.
According to police, the van made its way to Executive Boulevard, when it struck a Honda Civic and came to a stop at a nearby grassy area. Popolla attempted to flee on foot, but was quickly apprehended by responding officers.
The Con Ed worker, the driver of the Honda and Popolla were each taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The worker suffered head, neck and back injuries; the driver in the Civic suffered head and neck injuries and Popolla was treated for breathing difficulties.
Police said that following his apprehension, Popolla told officers that he had consumed a half bottle of vodka, and an open bottle of Gray Goose was found inside the van, which has been impounded.
Popolla, 49, was arrested and charged with Reckless Endangerment, Unlawful Fleeing a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Operator Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident, Operating a Motor Vehicle While intoxicated, Refusing to take a Breath Test, and Resisting Arrest, in addition to multiple vehicle and traffic law citations. Popolla is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon.
“The importance of slowing down and moving over when approaching a construction scene or emergency responders cannot be overstated,” Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner stated. “Police, Fire, EMS, and Utility workers place themselves at risk on our roads and highways every day. Thankfully in this instance, the injuries were not life-threatening and the police response was immediate; the defendant will now have to face the full extent of the law for his alleged reckless and dangerous behavior.”
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