The pursuit of a driver fleeing police ended on the...

The pursuit of a driver fleeing police ended on the Meadowbrook Parkway just north of the Babylon Turnpike on Friday. Credit: Jim Staubitser

A Hempstead man took Nassau police on a wild chase Friday evening, nearly striking several officers with his sport utility vehicle and colliding with trees and parked cars before he was finally apprehended on the Meadowbrook Parkway, officials said.

The incident began at 8:35 p.m. Friday as members of Nassau's Criminal Intelligence Rapid Response Team observed Kenneth Matson, 52, sitting in a 2003 Dodge Durango in Baldwin, smoking what cops believed to be crack cocaine from a glass pipe, police said.

When officers approached the vehicle, Matson threw the pipe onto the passenger side floor, police said. As officers attempted to remove the suspect from the vehicle, Matson locked the doors, rolled up the windows and accelerated his vehicle forward, striking a police vehicle, authorities said. Matson then put the SUV in reverse, nearly striking the officers as he took off north on Grand Avenue, police said.

Roughly 10 minutes later, police said they located the Durango parked at a dead end on Sumner Avenue in Merrick but Matson again eluded authorities, accelerating his SUV toward the officers, causing them to jump out of the way. Matson's Durango then hit two police cars, multiple parked vehicles and trees as he fled south on Meadowbrook Road, police said.

Nassau police finally apprehended the elusive suspect on the northbound Meadowbrook Parkway near the Babylon Turnpike exit after a brief struggle. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries incurred during the auto crashes.

Matson is charged with six counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief, two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, one count each of third-degree unlawful fleeing from a police officer, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and multiple traffic violations.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Sunday in First District Court in Hempstead.

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