Nassau's acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter rear-ended a vehicle in East Northport last week, causing a three-car, chain-reaction accident that injured a woman, police said Tuesday.
Krumpter, who was not injured, was "following too closely," which was an "apparent contributing factor" in the crash, according to the Suffolk Police department accident report. Krumpter, 47, was not issued any summonses.
Krumpter was driving north on Elwood Road about 25 feet south of Elchester Drive in his department-issued 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe when he struck the rear of a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu, "stopped in traffic" about 6:58 p.m. last Wednesday, according to the Suffolk Police accident report. Nassau Police provided the report to Newsday upon request.
The driver of the Malibu was identified as Karen T. Haar, 24, of East Northport. After Krumpter's car hit hers, Haar struck the vehicle in front of her, the report said, and that driver left after initially pulling over. Both Krumpter and Haar wore seat belts, the report said. Haar, who the report said was conscious, complained of neck pain and was taken to Huntington Hospital, where she was treated and released.
Haar, a substitute teacher in the Elwood school district, said by phone Tuesday she was driving home from Plainview and was stopped at a red light when a black Tahoe "just barreled into the back of me."
She said she pulled onto the right shoulder and Krumpter and the other driver, a man, pulled over and got out of their vehicles.
"I stood up out of my car and looked and it was just a big, black truck with flashing lights. I kept saying, 'Who hit me?' I said, 'You hit me? You're a cop?' And he said, 'Yeah,' and he was just texting on his phone [while she talked to him]. And I said, 'Did you call the other cops?' And he said, 'Yes they're on the way.' "
Haar said at the time of the accident she didn't know he was Nassau's acting police commissioner. It wasn't until the next day when her father picked up the police report, which included his name.
"I Googled it and there his face came right up," said Haar.
Haar said the third driver spoke to both her and Krumpter and said his vehicle wasn't damaged before he left the scene. She said when Suffolk officers arrived, they told her she should have gotten the man's driver's license and insurance information. Haar said she replied that Krumpter should "know to get the information. They agreed."
Haar said she had minimal interaction with Krumpter. "Once the county police got there, the commissioner went into his police car and I could never talk to him again," said Haar. "Usually if someone rear-ends you, you have a conversation. But I never had another word with him."
Haar said she still has pain on the right side of her neck and back, and has a large bruise on her right arm from the impact to the steering wheel. Her car, which is registered to her father, has trunk and bumper damage.
Nassau Police Insp. Kenneth Lack, a department spokesman, said Krumpter was unavailable to comment Tuesday. Lack said in a statement that after the crash, "Commissioner Krumpter assisted the driver of car number two, and called Suffolk County Police."
Krumpter's Tahoe was at the department's Fleet Service Bureau in Bethpage Tuesday awaiting repair, said Lack, who said he could not immediately provide a monetary value of the vehicle's damage.
Suffolk Deputy Chief Kevin Fallon, a department spokesman, said officers don't typically issue tickets in accidents unless they observe an infraction. Fallon said Krumpter received no special treatment.
"The only one . . . [who] the officers are laying any type of blame is to Commissioner Krumpter," said Fallon. "That says to me that it was handled professionally and appropriately."
The speed limit on the section of Elwood Road where the accident occurred is 40 miles per hour, Fallon said. The report does not indicate speed was a factor.
Brian Nevin, a spokesman for Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, said as of Tuesday no one involved in the accident had filed a notice of claim to the county. Anyone involved in a car accident with a county vehicle has 90 days to file a notice of claim if they are alleging property damage or personal injury, Nevin said.