A driver impaired by drugs slammed into the rear of a marked police car at an Inwood gas station Tuesday night — and the officer she injured in the crash helped pull her from the burning vehicle, officials said.
Marsha T. Ellis, 34, was charged with multiple crimes and infractions, including a charge of grand larceny because the iPhone in her possession had been stolen earlier in the day from a Best Buy in Valley Stream, Nassau police said.
The injured officer had been conducting a traffic stop about 10:50 p.m. at the Mobil gas station on Burnside Avenue just west of the Nassau Expressway.
Officer Knight-Honeywell, whose first name was not provided by police, said she was in her vehicle when Ellis, of Rosedale, Queens, drove a 2014 Audi into the gas station and hit the back of the police car.
The Audi’s window was down, the officer said, and she ordered Ellis out of the car but the driver, who was conscious, did not respond.
“I went to see if the person was OK, and then her car went up in flames,” Knight-Honeywell, 35, said. “She wasn’t able to get out of the car. I’m not sure if she was trapped.
Knight-Honeywell remembered thinking: “I need to get her out of the car as soon as possible before it blows up.”
Despite suffering neck, back and shoulder pain in the crash, Knight-Honeywell said she did not think about being hurt by the fireball as she pulled the woman out.
A patrol colleague who arrived as backup also helped rescue Ellis. As Knight-Honeywell escorted the woman a safe distance from the flames, the second officer told gas customers to get out of harm’s way.
“I saw gas on the ground from people putting the pumps back,” said Officer McCarthy, 26, whose first name was also withheld by police. “I wasn’t sure if the spark would light the whole place up.”
McCarthy said he couldn’t lie — a movie image crossed his mind.
“I’ve never seen a gas station explode but I’m sure it would be pretty big,” McCarthy said, noting that he told officers to push the cordoned-off area farther away.
Knight-Honeywell was released after being treated at a hospital, and McCarthy was treated for smoke inhalation and released.
Ellis was arraigned in First District Court Hempstead on nine vehicle and traffic violations, grand larceny, driving while ability impaired by drugs, assault and criminal possession of marijuana. She was held on a bail of $100,000 cash or $50,000 bond.
She was represented by The Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, which has a policy of not commenting in the early stages of a case.
Both officers said they were just doing their jobs.
“I’m glad that I was able to save a life,” Knight-Honeywell said. “It could have gone so differently if I wasn’t able to pull her out from the car. ”