A senior officer who hadn't made an arrest in about 20 years busted a motorist on charges of erratic driving on the first day of his 40th year in the force, Suffolk police said.
Fourth Precinct Insp. William Murphy said he was off duty, headed to a police dinner Wednesday night, when a motorist almost hit his unmarked vehicle on the eastbound service lanes of the Long Island Expressway in the Islandia area.
"I was not looking for trouble," said Murphy, 61. "I was heading to dinner, actually, and unfortunately, this other person's car was looking to find mine."
As a commander, Murphy's days of pursuing suspects are long gone, but he trailed the other car as it went north on Old Nichols Road.
The car veered into oncoming traffic twice, almost hitting a van, the inspector said, and after radioing for marked patrol units, he flashed his lights and stopped the vehicle near Townline Road in Hauppauge.
"I've got to do something because she's going to kill somebody," Murphy recalled thinking.
Stephanie Mupo, 39, of 56 Richmond Blvd., Ronkonkoma, was charged with two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, reflecting past arrests for driving on a suspended license. She also received summonses for using a cellphone and failure to maintain her lane, police said.
She denied veering into oncoming traffic, saying she's careful, ever since a wrong-way drunken motorist crashed into her. She said the drugs she had were Tylenol with codeine pills prescribed for recent dental work.
"I did not come close to hitting anybody," said Mupo, released on station house bail.
She said she used to take photos of drivers on their cellphones and used hers Wednesday to return her mother's call, fearing something was wrong.
As for Murphy, assigned to the Fourth Precinct in November, he never made it to dinner due to the arrest. The last arrest he remembers was after a car chase.
He said he wasn't going to make a big deal about starting his fourth decade: "I would prefer to be going out eating dinner, but duty called."