Nassau cop hit by car in critical but stable condition

A veteran police officer conducting radar enforcement on Route 878 in Lawrence was seriously injured after being struck by a car Tuesday afternoon. Videojournalist: Jim Staubitser (Oct. 2, 2012)

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A Nassau County policeman trying to crack down on speeders was critically injured after being struck by a car Tuesday in Lawrence, police said.

The Fourth Precinct officer was just outside his car on the northbound side of Route 878, the Nassau Expressway, when he was hit by an Audi driven by a 43-year-old man who had his two children, ages 20 and 9, in the car, police said.

"The vehicle did stop, along with other witnesses, to try to assist the officer when they saw the extent of his injuries," said Det. Michael Bitsko, a police spokesman.

The officer, 57, was airlifted with several injuries -- fractured skull, pelvis and leg and internal bleeding -- to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where he came out of surgery about 5 p.m. in critical but stable condition, police said.

"The surgeons were most concerned with stopping the bleeding with the tremendous amount of blood that was lost," Bitsko said. "Right now, they've stabilized the internal bleeding . . . before they go further and deal with any other means of taking care of his fractures because they don't want to move him around too much right now."

Police declined to name the officer, but said he is a 29-year veteran with several awards, including two for saving lives.

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No one else was taken to the hospital in the incident, police said.

The crash occurred about 11:35 a.m. near Cedarlawn Avenue, just north of the Atlantic Beach Bridge, police said.

The roadway was shut down for six hours while the accident reconstruction team tried to piece together what happened.

The officer was trying to slow down traffic, but the events leading to the crash were not clear Tuesday as investigators digested the myriad witness statements, police said.

"When he attempted to slow the traffic, I don't know if he was going to pull someone over and issue a summons," Bitsko said. "We have to talk to him."

One account has a second car involved, the detective said.

"We're getting so many accounts of what took place," Bitsko said. "Whether this car was stopping in front and the Audi swerved around and never saw the officer on the other side, we do not know."

No charges were filed against the Audi driver.Several police union delegates, including union president James Carver, were at the hospital. Carver said he worked with the officer from 1987 to 2005 in the Fourth Precinct.

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