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Cops: Burglary suspect who prompted chase that injured Riverhead Town officer arrested

A Riverhead police officer was in serious condition

A Riverhead police officer was in serious condition after crashing a patrol vehicle during a pursuit Tuesday, officials said. Credit: James Carbone

A burglary suspect who led officers from several police agencies on a high-speed chase Tuesday that badly injured a pursuing Riverhead Town officer who crashed  in his patrol vehicle, has been arrested and faces a string of charges connected to eluding police, officials said Friday.

Alfred Cowell, 40, of Riverhead, was spotted Thursday about 2 p.m. by Suffolk County deputy sheriffs who were conducting a narcotics investigation in Middle Island, according to a statement Friday from the sheriff’s office.

Cowell matched the description of the wanted suspect who led officers on the vehicle chase that began in Southold on Tuesday, and was not part of the narcotics investigation, officials said.

Cowell was seen getting into a Kia Telluride, and deputies followed him in their unmarked car to a parking lot at Smith Point County Park in Mastic Beach.

That is when they coordinated with other deputies with the Sheriff’s Office, who were in marked vehicles when they swooped in and arrested Cowell, officials said.

Cowell was taken to Riverhead where he was then transported to Southold police, officials said.

Sheila Kelly, spokeswoman for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, said Cowell was arraigned Friday from Southold via Skype and was released with GPS monitoring by the probation department.

He was charged with second-degree burglary, second-degree reckless endangerment, unlawful fleeing of a police officer, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, reckless driving and several traffic infractions, she said.

Cowell faces a maximum sentence of 3½ to 15 years if he is convicted of the second-degree burglary charge, Kelly said.

Cowell is being represented by the Suffolk County Legal Aid Society. He is due back in Southold Justice Court court on May 22, Kelly said.

Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon Jr. said in a statement: "This is a fine example of interagency collaboration that ultimately led to the arrest of this suspect whose callous actions caused life-threatening injuries to an officer. I am proud of the deputies for their excellent work and role in bringing this individual to justice.”

Riverhead police have not released the identity of the injured officer. They said Tuesday night the officer was hospitalized in serious condition because of “physical injuries as a direct result of the accident.”

Officials said the injured officer began the pursuit of the suspect’s vehicle about 4 p.m. Tuesday when the suspect drove into Riverhead from Southold, officials said.

The suspect was being pursued by officers from several departments, Riverhead police said. Details of the burglary were not disclosed by police.

The Riverhead police cruiser that crashed was northbound on Osborne Avenue, near Youngs Avenue, with its emergency lights on when it collided with another vehicle, police said.

The Riverhead officer tried to pass the second vehicle that was headed north on Osborne Avenue, and when that vehicle tried to turn left onto Youngs Avenue, the two vehicles struck each other, police said. The police cruiser then left the roadway and crashed into a fence on the west side of Osborne Avenue just north of Youngs Avenue.

Cowell was last seen ditching his vehicle and fleeing on foot in a First Street parking lot in Riverhead, police said.

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