In a harrowing traffic stop, a Westchester County police officer was injured on the Hutchinson River Parkway when a motorist drove off at high speed as the officer was attempting to take him into custody.
The incident took place around 11:30 a.m., Monday, June 17, when the unnamed officer pulled over a Honda Accord for a traffic violation, said Kieran O'Leary, spokesman for the Westchester County Police.
After determining the driver did not have a valid license, the officer asked the man to step out of the vehicle. The man initially complied but then jumped back into the Honda. That's when the officer leaned inside the car to remove the driver when he sped off, O'Leary said.
The officer was able to climb inside to avoid being dragged and he struggled with the suspect as the vehicle reached speeds of up to 60 mph, O'Leary said.
The driver’s front door remained open during the incident. The driver swerved across both lanes of the highway and on to the shoulder, accelerating and then braking hard, in an apparent effort to throw the officer from the car.
The struggle continued for three-quarters of a mile when the officer was able to bring the car to a halt. The suspect vehicle was then boxed in by a county police patrol car as the driver attempted to take off again, O'Leary said.
“The actions of this driver put our officer in grave danger,” Westchester County Police Commissioner Thomas A. Gleason said. “It is fortunate that he was not seriously injured or killed.”
The suspect, who is still being identified, is believed to be a Massachusetts man in his 20s.
Multiple felony charges are pending, including attempted murder of a police officer, assault and criminal possession of a controlled substance, O'Leary said.
The county officer was taken to Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow with an injury to one of his hands and arm. He was treated and released. The suspect was taken to the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where he was also treated and released, "O'Leary said.
Following the incident, the Honda was impounded and towed back to County Police headquarters in Hawthorne where officers found 9,000 glassine envelopes of heroin inside the car.
The man is scheduled to be arraigned in New Rochelle City Court on Tuesday, June 18.
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