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Cops: 3 Suffolk County police vehicles involved in 3 crashes, in 3 hours

The crash scene in Melville on Thursday morning.

The crash scene in Melville on Thursday morning.  Credit: James Carbone

A Bloods gang member wanted on a warrant clipped a police vehicle as he drove off in Bellport Thursday, initiating a high-speed chase before giving up about seven miles later in Farmingville, unable to elude the police helicopter, Suffolk County authorities said.

The collision with the police vehicle was the third Suffolk police-involved crash in three hours Thursday, with a total of three police officers and two civilian drivers taken to the hospital with minor injuries, police said. The two officers inside the vehicle that was hit in Bellport were not injured, police said.

Fifth Precinct gang unit officers had already pulled back from the pursuit that started on Michigan Avenue in Bellport and lost sight of Jhion Goff, 19, when he parked his BMW on Overlook Drive in Farmingville, ran down the block, then surrendered as the police helicopter hovered above, police said.

"Once he took off at a high rate of speed the officers backed off," said Det. Lt. Michael Lutz of the Fifth Precinct. "He could have been in excess of 75, 80 mph. That's why we backed off and let the helicopter follow him and not push him to go faster. When he saw the helicopter overhead, he just laid down on the ground."

Goff, of Beach Lane in Coram, was charged with two counts of felony criminal possession of a controlled substance, heroin and fentanyl, criminal mischief, reckless driving, unlawful fleeing from an officer, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance. He was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

He was wanted on a warrant for firing shots Aug. 16 in Middle Island, police said. No one was hurt in that case and he had been charged with reckless endangerment in the shooting, police said.

The first police vehicle accident of the day happened when a Suffolk officer was responding at 8:39 a.m. to a report of an overturned car in a parking lot in front of Blackstone Steakhouse on Pinelawn Road.

The officer was southbound on Pinelawn, trying to make a left turn into the lot, when a northbound 2014 BMW struck the marked vehicle, police said. The male officer was taken to Huntington Hospital with minor injuries. The male BMW driver was taken to Plainview Hospital also with minor injuries.

The second accident happened at 10:03 a.m. on Route 109, near the Southern State Parkway, in East Farmingdale, police said.

The Suffolk officer was eastbound in a marked car, with emergency lights on, and "slowing to turn around on Route 109 when a pickup truck slowed behind the officer and was rear-ended by a minivan," police said. "The pickup then struck the police vehicle."

The male officer, the female pickup truck driver and the male minivan driver, a state police investigator at the wheel of an unmarked vehicle, were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip to be treated for minor injuries. The officer’s emergency lights were on at the time of the crash, police said.

In the Goff case, officers had been stationed outside a Michigan Avenue house after learning he was in there. 

They were trying to arrest him on the shooting warrant, and when he came out just after noon, an unmarked police vehicle pulled in front of the driveway, where Goff had his BMW, police said.

Goff saw them, and as he drove out of the driveway, he clipped the front of the unmarked vehicle, Lutz said.

"The helicopter was very effective," Lutz said. "Presumably he knew he wasn't going to get away with the helicopter overhead."

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