Five Nassau police officers received citations Tuesday from County Executive Edward Mangano for their efforts in arresting a Bethpage man suspected of fatally stabbing his wife before leading cops on a high-speed chase that ended in a fiery crash at a Brooklyn gas station.
Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter and Mangano — in his first news conference with police officials since his federal indictment on corruption charges — praised the officers, one of whom received a meritorious police service award, while the other four received medal of distinguished service awards at a department ceremony Tuesday night.
“We have several officers that we are pausing [for] — actually tonight, which is the real ceremony — but we wanted to make special pause here for the media to give these police officers their recognition for their heroic service to our great county,” Mangano said at the afternoon event.
Nassau police Officers James Sanford, Katy Kalender, Darnell White, Andrew Mirenda and Matthew Fusaro were on hand to pick up their citations but were not permitted by Krumpter to speak to reporters.
Maria Crumb, 41, was found fatally stabbed in her Seitz Drive home Nov. 4 after her 12-year-old son called 911, police said.
Krumpter said that soon after the discovery, Sanford saw the dead woman’s husband, Robert Crumb, 44, sitting in his parked car on the shoulder of the Southern State Parkway.
“As Officer Sanford approached the vehicle, he noticed that the defendant was covered in blood,” Krumpter said. “The defendant sped away at this point.”
Officers pursued Crumb for 25 miles into Brooklyn, where he crashed his car into a Citgo gas station, and the vehicle erupted in flames on impact.
Fusaro attempted to rescue Crumb from the burning vehicle, Krumpter said, but the suspect exited himself and “immediately charged Officer Fusaro,” knocking him to the ground — an exchange captured on surveillance video.
Mirenda got on top of Crumb to try to subdue him, and White used a stun gun on Crumb, Krumpter said.
“All of the police officers in this particular case mentioned above should be commended for their incredible restraint, heroic actions and exemplary decision-making they used during this arrest,” Krumpter said.
“All too often, police officers in this country are criticized for use of force. Today in Nassau County, we’re recognizing these officers for the significant restraint and good judgment that they exhibited in this particular case.”
Had the officers fired their service weapons, Krumpter said, the use of deadly force “certainly would have been” justified.