A Brentwood man crashed his car into a Suffolk County police vehicle during a traffic stop in Hauppauge, injuring two officers and a man and a woman while they were being handcuffed, police said.
Orvin Antonio Gabriel, 24, was arrested and charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and operation of a vehicle when approaching a parked, stopped or a standing authorized emergency vehicle or hazard vehicle, police said.
Gabriel was driving home from work with a friend when police said his 2001 Toyota Corolla, headed west on Route 347, east of Route 111, struck the rear of an unoccupied police vehicle about 8:40 p.m. Tuesday. The police car then struck two police officers and the two occupants of a 2013 Hyundai Sonata, who were being arrested on charges of drug possession, after a traffic stop.
Those two victims -- identified by police as Samantha Koppen, 25, of Levittown, and Chad Jackowski, 37, of Farmingdale -- were airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, where they were listed in serious condition with multiple internal injuries, police said.
A police spokesman said Koppen, who had been driving when the vehicle was stopped, suffered a fractured pelvis. He said Jackowski suffered lacerations.
Det. Sgt. James Madden of the Suffolk police Vehicular Crime Unit said Koppen had been stopped by police for a vehicle and traffic infraction and said drug paraphernalia and a quantity of heroin were recovered during the traffic stop.
He said that the first officer on scene stopped directly behind Koppen's car, on the westbound shoulder, and that a second patrol unit had stopped behind the first police car -- and had secured the right-hand travel lane in an attempt to protect the cars, the officers and Koppen and Jackowski.
"Now," he said, "you have this Toyota Corolla [driven by Gabriel] and he realizes 'there's a police car in my lane.' He swerves to the left, into the middle lane, and he avoids that [stopped] police car. But then he overcompensates, cuts back -- and hits the first police car square; hits it good."
Madden said the impact drove the police car into the two officers, later identified as John Kurklen and Adam Tuthill of the Fourth Precinct, as well as into Koppen and Jackowski -- both of whom were being handcuffed when the crash occurred.
The officers were taken to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, where Madden said they were treated for ankle and knee injuries, as well as possible concussions. They were later released.
Gabriel, of Second Avenue, was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at First District Court in Central Islip.
All three vehicles were impounded for safety checks and the investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information to call the Vehicular Crime Unit at 631-852-6555.
"It was just poor reaction on his part," Madden said of the actions of Gabriel. "If he didn't compensate back, he probably would have been fine."
With Gary Dymski