BRISTOL - A local police officer is expected to be off duty for a significant amount of time after breaking his hand apprehending a suspect who tried to steal a cop cruiser on Wednesday.
Police on Thursday said they were still working to positively identify the suspect, who created a chaotic situation for police - in which two officers were injured - when he tried running from an officer multiple times, taking his handcuffs at one point, and trying to escape in two vehicles before colliding with a police cruiser.
According to Lt. Richard Guerrera, police made a motor vehicle stop in the McDonald’s parking lot on North Main Street Wednesday afternoon and were given a fake name by the passenger, who was trying to sell the vehicle to the man driving. The car was not registered or insured, and did not have the proper plates.
While both men were outside of the car, the suspect who had been a passenger got into the vehicle and sped away. He was not chased because of the dangers of a police pursuit. Officers later received information leading them to believe the man lived on Union Street.
About an hour after the traffic stop, an officer drove to Union Street and saw the suspect in the passenger seat of a vehicle that was pulling out of a home there. The vehicle was pulled over, and the suspect got out of the car, police said.
As an officer put handcuffs on the suspect’s wrists, he pulled them away and ran to the driver side of his vehicle and got in. The officer stopped him from closing the door and driving away. The suspect then got out of the vehicle and ran to a police cruiser. Unable to get the cruiser door open, he ran away from the cop and into the rear of a moving police SUV that showed up as backup.
After a brief struggle, multiple officers were able to take the man into custody. During the struggle one officer broke his hand and another cut his hand. Both officers were taken to an area hospital and released after receiving treatment. The officer who suffered a cut was able to return to duty, while the one who broke his hand could not complete his shift. Neither officer has been identified.
“He’s going to be out for a while,” Guerrera said of the policeman who broke his hand.
The suspect was also taken to the hospital for a medical emergency that appears to be unrelated to the incident. He has not been cooperative, police said.
“We think we know who he is, but we’re still trying to positively ID him,” Guerrera said.
The suspect is expected to be charged with two counts of assault on a police officer and one count each of interfering with police, attempted first-degree larceny, escape from custody, reckless driving, engaging police in pursuit, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, no insurance and misuse of plates.
A video of a portion of the incident has gone viral after being posted to the private Facebook group “Bristol Talks.” As of Thursday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 83,000 times.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.