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3 hurt in drunken driving crash on Sunrise Highway in Copiague, cops say

Suffolk County police are investigating a crash in

Suffolk County police are investigating a crash in Copiague that injured three men and closed eastbound Sunrise Highway during the morning rush hour on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Credit: Paul Mazza

The driver of a pickup was drunk when he crashed into a utility pole in Copiague Tuesday, ejecting and seriously injuring himself and two passengers, Suffolk County police said.

One of the passengers was hit by another vehicle after being ejected on Sunrise Highway at about 3 a.m., a police spokeswoman said.

The three men — all from Babylon — had serious but not life-threatening injuries, Det. Sgt. James Madden of the vehicular crime unit told News 12 Long Island.

“Broken bones and internal injuries,” Madden said.

The driver, Elmer Santos-Cardoza, 24, was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated, police said.

Santos-Cardoza and his passenger Melvin Mansonarez, 20, were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip; the passenger struck by another vehicle, Jose Santamaria, also 20, was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, police said.

A Levittown man, 42, driving a 2008 Toyota that hit Santamaria remained at the scene and is not being charged, a police spokeswoman said.

A 911 caller in North Amityville driving behind a 1999 yellow Dodge Ram pickup told police the pickup truck was traveling erratically on Sunrise Highway.

During the call, the pickup crashed into a utility pole east of the Great Neck Road exit in Copiague, police said.

Police said in a news release that Santos-Cardoza lost control and struck the pole.

Santos-Cardoza will be arraigned at a later date, police said.

The eastbound lanes of Sunrise Highway at Great Neck Road were closed starting just before 5 a.m. for the investigation by the department’s vehicle crimes unit. The road was reopened shortly before 9 a.m., according to the state Department of Transportation.

Detectives ask anyone with more information to contact the vehicular crime unit at 631-852-6555.

Correction: An earlier version of this story had the wrong first name for Det. Sgt. James Madden.

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