A West Babylon man pleaded guilty Tuesday to ramming a marked Suffolk police cruiser with a stolen SUV during a snowstorm in March, a collision that seriously injured a 20-year veteran cop, prosecutors said.
Louis Mancini Jr., 30, pleaded guilty before Suffolk County acting Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho to first-degree assault, driving while ability impaired by drugs and second-degree unlawful fleeing of a police officer in a motor vehicle.
“This defendant tried to evade law enforcement, driving recklessly while under the influence of drugs and putting lives at risk in what were already dangerous road conditions,” Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini said. “Because of his actions, a Suffolk County Police officer was injured while doing his duties to protect our roadways.”
Mancini is represented by the Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County. No one from that office could be reached Tuesday.
The March 13 incident began at about 11:15 a.m. when Mancini stole an unoccupied 2013 GMC Yukon that had been idling at Frank’s Delicatessen in West Babylon, police said. He drove north on Straight Path, but lost control and crossed into the southbound lane, where he crashed head-on into a cruiser driven by Officer Don Dillon, police and prosecutors said.
Dillon, 45, who suffered a shattered pelvis, fractured hip and broken leg, had been responding to a 911 call made by a deli employee who reported the vehicle stolen, prosecutors said.
“The reckless actions of Mancini Jr. endangered the lives of motorists and seriously injured a Suffolk County Police officer,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said in a news release. “The officer continues to heal and has not been able to return to work due to his injuries."
Officials said that tests revealed that Mancini had fentanyl, a powerful opioid, and Clonazepam, a sedative, in his system at the time of the crash. He was also operating the vehicle with a suspended driver’s license, authorities said.
Mancini is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 1. He is expected to receive a term of 10 years in prison, followed by 5 years of post-release supervision, officials said.