A motorist suddenly drove off during a police traffic stop Friday in Melville and hit an officer, dragging him 200 yards and setting off a pursuit that finished on a dead-end street 12 miles away, Suffolk police said.

Robert Stein, 54, was at the Park and Ride off Exit 49 of the westbound Long Island Expressway about 10 a.m. when two Second Precinct officers noticed his car, which had been flagged in connection with two cases of fuel theft from gas stations earlier this month, police said.

As Officer John McAleavey walked up to ask for his license, Stein stepped on the gas pedal, knocking the officer with his side-view mirror, police said.

"He hits him with the mirror and hooks him, right on the gun belt," Second Precinct Det. Sgt. Steven Bluethgen said. "It just grabbed the equipment that was on his belt. He's got guns, he's got a Mace holder, he's got a radio holder and stuff."

Stein speeded down one lane of the parking lot, then another, before slowing down to enter the westbound LIE service road, Bluethgen said.

"The officer's trying to dislodge himself the whole time, basically holding on to the hood and the vehicle," he said.

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When the car slowed, McAleavey was able to free himself, police said, and his partner, Officer Jean Paul Kergaravat, tried using his patrol car to prevent Stein from driving off.

Suffolk police and state troopers pursued Stein, who eluded them for about 12 miles, police said, until he drove down East Second Street in Mineola, a dead-end street.

Stein, whose last known address is 1944 Prospect Ave., East Meadow, was arrested and was to be held overnight to be arraigned Saturday on second-degree assault of a police officer, first-degree reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an incident with injury, two counts of petty larceny and three counts of third-degree unlawfully fleeing a police officer.

McAleavey was treated for cuts and bruises and released from Huntington Hospital.He and his partner are part of the Second Precinct Community Oriented Police Enforcement Officers (COPE).