A Sag Harbor man accused of dragging a police officer with a car last year when he sped off to avoid arrest has pleaded guilty to several crimes, including assault and driving drunk.
Andrew Hellman, 37, appeared before Suffolk County Court Judge Stephen Braslow in Riverhead on Monday and admitted that he knocked the officer to the ground with the 2001 GMC when he drove off after the officer asked to see his driver’s license and registration, according to Hellman’s attorney, Peter Mayer of Hauppauge.
Officer Andrew Nimmo, who suffered cuts and bruises to his body and legs, missed a few days of work, East Hampton Town Det. Sgt. Daniel Toia said Wednesday.
“He was in substantial pain,” Toia said. “This goes to show how dangerous the work of law enforcement is. It’s very lucky that no further injuries resulted from the reckless act.”
Hellman was arrested the day of the incident on Sept. 1 and has been held at the county jail since, Mayer said.
Police had said a group of people, including Hellman, appeared intoxicated when Nimmo and his partner saw them get into the car, parked in front of a Montauk 7-Eleven on Montauk Highway at around 4:45 a.m. The officers stopped and questioned Hellman.
When he tried to prevent Hellman from leaving, Nimmo was dragged for “several” feet, according to a police news release at the time.
“The officer was thrown from the vehicle as the vehicle continued at an unsafe speed onto Montauk Highway, traveling west, before losing control and overturning” west of the store, the news release said. Hellman and his passengers were removed, and he was taken into custody.
On Monday, Hellman pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with intent to prevent a police officer from performing a lawful duty and to cause physical injury to the officer, a class D felony, according to Mayer and court records. He also pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and second-degree reckless endangerment, both misdemeanors.
In exchange for Hellman's plea, the four remaining charges against him were dismissed, Mayer said.
As part of the judge-approved plea agreement between Mayer and the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, Hellman will be released from jail under the supervision of probation officers, Mayer said. Hellman will enter an inpatient drug treatment program for at least six months and must do what is required.
Hellman will be sentenced after he successfully completes that program, Mayer said. Then the felony second-degree assault charge will also be dismissed.
However, if Hellman violates any part of the plea deal, Mayer said, all bets are off and Hellman could be sentenced up to 5 years in state prison.
“That’s the hammer over his head should he mess this up,” Mayer said.
A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office could not be reached for comment.