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Long IslandSuffolk

Witness sought in crash that injured officer

Detectives investigating a hit-and-run accident in Huntington that seriously injured a Suffolk County police officer are looking for the driver of a white Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle, police said Friday.

Police said in a news release that the Mercedes reportedly was in the area at the time of the accident on Sunday. They want to interview its driver -- a potential witness -- and residents of the area where Second Precinct officer Tim Tonkin was injured, police said.

Tonkin was struck at about 6:20 p.m., after he had stopped his vehicle while on routine patrol on the east side of Greenlawn Road, east of Hampton Court. He had left his vehicle to check for a flat tire when several white utility trucks or tree-trimming trucks approached him.

Material from the back of one truck hit Tonkin in the head, causing him to fall, police said, and a second truck then ran over his right arm and shoulder.

Neither truck stopped, and a 911 caller who reported the accident said the drivers may not have realized the officer was struck, police said.

Police said residents may have hired private landscapers who were driving vehicles that match the description of the trucks involved in the officer's injury.

Tonkin had a separated shoulder and an eye injury and was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital in serious condition Sunday night, police said. Police on Friday had no update on the officer's condition.

Tonkin received the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission medal for heroism in 2009. He was honored for pulling a 35-year-old man from an SUV that was submerged about 60 feet from the boat ramp at Billy Joel Park in Cold Spring Harbor in October 2008.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477 or the Second Squad at 631-854-8252. All calls will be kept confidential.

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