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Man's lawyer questions police judgment in chase

Edward Langley crashed his car in Ronkonkoma following

Edward Langley crashed his car in Ronkonkoma following a high-speed chase with Suffolk sheriff's deputies, leaving his teenage son with a head injury. (Dec. 29, 2009) Credit: James Carbone

The attorney for a Westbury man accused of crashing his car in Ronkonkoma while fleeing from Suffolk County sheriff's deputies, leaving his teenage son with a head injury, said Friday the deputies may have contributed to the accident by engaging in a high-speed chase.

Lawyer Philip Murphy of Bay Shore, said his client, Edward Langley, 34, fled from the deputies on Dec. 29 because he was driving without a license.

The sheriff's office has said deputies pursued Langley for three minutes before he crashed his Volvo into a tree in Ronkonkoma.

Murphy said he does not know if deputies followed department policy on chasing suspects. "The question is whether it was good judgment," he said.

A spokesman for the sheriff's department said Friday that Langley did not stop or slow down when deputies pursued him after Langley's ex-girlfriend called 911 and said he was following her on the Long Island Expressway.

"Mr. Langley's high-speed driving was independent of whether the deputies engaged in a high-speed chase," sheriff's office chief of staff Michael Sharkey said. "Langley initiated the action."

Langley pleaded not guilty Friday in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead to a five-count indictment: second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, fleeing from police, reckless driving and endangering the welfare of a child. He was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail by Judge Martin Efman.

Assistant District Attorney Leslie Stevens declined to comment.

Langley's son, Edward Langley III, 14, who was injured in the crash, remains in Stony Brook University Medical Center with serious injuries but has shown improvement, Murphy said.

The boy's mother, Donna Swan, who is Langley's ex-girlfriend and who called 911 on Dec. 29, could not be reached for comment.

Langley has been ordered to return to court on Feb. 16.

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