A 47-year-old man from Wading River was escorted Thursday from the Riverhead Police Department for his arraignment on a charge of driving while intoxicated after slamming into a police officer's vehicle Wednesday night. The officer was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. Newsday's Steve Langford reports. Credit: Newsday / Reece T. Williams; John Roca/Reece T. Williams; John Roca

A driver drunk on more than twice the legal limit for alcohol collided with a police vehicle at the scene of a separate crash in Wading River, causing nonlife-threatening injuries to an officer, according to Riverhead Town Police.

Kenneth Hamilton, 47, of Wading River, was driving a 2005 Nissan Altima when he crashed into the police car’s rear driver’s side quarter panel, according a court document charging him with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated. The police car’s rear overhead light was illuminated at the time.

Hamilton is an ex-police officer who retired on "accidental disability," according to the Suffolk County Police Department, where he used to work.

The injured officer, whose name was not released by police, had stopped at the scene of an unrelated crash in Wading River, according to the court document. He had been in one of two marked Riverhead police vehicles dispatched about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday to a crash at Wading River Manorville Road, just north of State Route 25, police said in a news release: A motorist had failed to negotiate a curve and ran off the road onto the shoulder because of fog. That crash had been reported by a passing motorist.

"While standing by, one of the officers went back to his marked unit and began running data and preparing paperwork and was seated in the front passenger seat of the unit," the release said. "A short time later, the marked police unit was struck by another vehicle traveling northbound on Wading River Manorville Road. The force of the collision pushed the police cruiser off the roadway and onto the eastern shoulder, with both vehicles sustaining extensive damage."

The injured officer was assisted by colleagues on the scene and taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead. He was hospitalized with a back injury, according to Yvette Aguiar, the Riverhead town supervisor.

Hamilton had "noticeable impairment" and "an odor of alcohol," the release said. His blood alcohol content was 0.17 at the scene, said Patricia Brosco, the East End bureau chief of the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, at Hamilton's arraignment, according to Tania Lopez, the office spokeswoman. The legal limit is .08. Lopez said Hamilton refused to take a test and thus his driver's license was revoked.

The charging document against Hamilton said: "The defendant did have slurred speech, a distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath, unsteady on his feet but reports prior left knee injury from prior motor vehicle accident."

Hamilton was arraigned Thursday and freed without bail, Lopez said. The case is due back in court Feb. 15. Hamilton's attorney, Daniel Ginty of the Legal Aid Society, did not return messages left seeking comment.

Hamilton started at the Suffolk police academy on Nov. 12, 2002, and left on the accidental disability retirement Feb. 3, 2014, according to an email Friday from the police department’s press office.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

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