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Long IslandCrime

Reckless cabbie chase ends at his Shirley home, cops say

A taxi driver who Suffolk County police spotted driving recklessly in Medford on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, was pursued to a home in Shirley, driving over tire-deflating devices along the way, police said. David Walker, a bystander to the chase, took video that shows 14 marked police vehicles in pursuit. Credit: David Walker

A taxi driver who Suffolk police spotted driving recklessly in Medford on Tuesday was pursued to his home in Shirley, driving over tire-deflating devices along the way, police said.

Video taken of the chase shows at least 14 marked police vehicles in pursuit.

“It looked like a parade,” said David Walker, 23, of Plainview, a firefighter who shot the video from his vehicle while waiting at a red light in Middle Island.

“I heard a bunch of sirens, I peeked out a window and there were 14 patrol vehicles, plus one at the end that didn’t have its lights on.”

The taxi driver, behind the wheel of a 2005 Plymouth Voyager owned by RIB Transportation, fled instead of stopping when officers first saw him traveling east on Granny Road and Kettles Lane at 1:10 p.m., a police statement said.

The police said they pursued him at a slow speed. The video shows an orderly cavalcade; Walker estimated they were traveling at less than 25 mph when he heard all the sirens.

A police spokeswoman said only two police units were assigned to the pursuit.

“The other units were following at a safe distance and were in position to be available as needed at the end of the pursuit and for any unexpected safety issues that might arise,” she said.

For example, other drivers must be kept clear, and there is the chance a suspect might try to make a run for it after a pursuit ends.

And as a pursuit travels along, police officers from different precincts might join in, to help keep other drivers to stay clear, though they would still respond to other emergency calls, the spokeswoman said.

The taxi driver’s route took him on Mill Road, where the police attempted but failed to stop him safely with devices known as “stop sticks,” and on William Floyd Parkway, where the stop sticks again failed.

Images show the taxi rolling on its rim by the time it stopped in the cabbie’s driveway.

The taxi driver was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital so that psychiatrists could examine him after he was arrested at his home on Revilo Avenue and charged with “unlawful fleeing a police officer,” the Suffolk County police said in a statement.


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