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New charges for teen in two March crashes

Jaheem Funderburke was arrested by Suffolk County police

Jaheem Funderburke was arrested by Suffolk County police in connection with a hit-and-run of a police officer in Brentwood in March of 2019. Credit: SCPD

A Medford teen faces a host of new charges in connection with a pair of hit-and-run crashes in March, including one in which he struck a Suffolk police officer with his vehicle, prosecutors said.

Jaheem Funderburke, 17, was arraigned Thursday in Suffolk County Supreme Court on charges including third-degree unlawful fleeing a police officer, reckless driving, and two counts each of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. 

Justice C. Randall Hinrichs ordered Funderburke, who pleaded not guilty, held on $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of up to 16 years in prison.

Funderburke was charged in March with second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

“The brave men and women of the Suffolk County Police Department put their lives on the line every day to keep residents safe and protect them from criminals,” District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement. “This individual put an officer’s safety at risk and led police on not one, but two dangerous pursuits.”

On March 8, Suffolk police responded to a 911 call about a suspicious vehicle, a 2018 Mazda, near Peterson Street in Brentwood.

As a responding officer approached the vehicle and asked the driver for identification, Funderburke put the car in reverse before accelerating forward, striking the officer in the hip, prosecutors said. Funderburke fled the scene, eluding police at speeds of more than 100 mph. 

The officer was treated at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore for several non-life-threatening injuries.

The following day, officers from the Sixth Precinct responded to a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Gordon Avenue and Granny Road in Medford. Authorities said Funderburke struck a 2001 Nissan driven by a 42-year-old Medford woman, who suffered minor injuries.

Funderburke and two passengers in the Mazda, Kalithe Bell and Kenya Uceda, fled the scene on foot and were apprehended by Suffolk Police Canine Section officers in a wooded area south of Dourland Road, prosecutors said. Funderburke was found in possession of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl, prosecutors said.

Bell, 18, of Bellport, and Uceda, 18, of Brentwood, were charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, police said.

Funderburke is due back in court May 30.

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