Three Suffolk men operated their off-road vehicles illegally on PSEG Long Island property in Shoreham, and in their attempt to flee one ran over the leg of an arresting officer, authorities said Monday.
Each man faces misdemeanor charges of fleeing a police officer, reckless endangerment and vehicle and traffic law infractions for the March 13 incident, according to a news release from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Trevor Galvez, 17, of Selden, is additionally charged with second-degree assault, a felony, after the agency said he backed his four-wheeler over the lower leg and foot of Travis McNamara, an environmental conservation officer, fracturing several bones.
Galvez and the other two charged — Jesse Demers, 20, of Selden, and Richard Hughes, 23, of Sound Beach — were arraigned at First District Court, released on bail and are due back in court later this month, authorities said.
The three men face up to 10 years in jail, officials said.
McNamara and Trooper Fabio Daino of the State Police were working jointly on an off-road-vehicle patrol sponsored by the Pine Barrens Law Enforcement Council when they encountered the vehicles operating illegally, authorities said.
McNamara was speaking to the driver of the lead truck, Galvez, when Galvez “quickly backed up, running over the lower leg and foot” of McNamara, officials said.
Daino was able to arrest Galvez and Hughes “a short distance away” from where McNamara was injured; Demers was arrested the next day at his residence, the agency said.
McNamara had surgery at Stony Brook University Hospital where he was released last week.
Acting Department of Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said the illegal use of off-road vehicles “is a direct threat to the integrity of sensitive ecosystems like the Pine Barrens and public safety.” He also wished McNamara a speedy recovery.
The Pine Barrens Law Enforcement Council, formed in 1993, combats illegal ATV activity as well as other violations in the Pine Barrens, the agency said.
Off-road vehicles can damage sandy soils, creating ruts in trails, tearing up native vegetation and potentially disturbing or injuring other authorized recreational users, officials said.