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Washingtonville man charged with running down cop at gas line

Robert Rabinowitz, 62, was arrested Nov. 4 by

Robert Rabinowitz, 62, was arrested Nov. 4 by Washingtonville police after he drove his car into a police officer at a convenience store, police said. The officer had asked Rabinowitz to drive around because he was blocking the entrance to a neighboring gasoline station when he drove into the officer, police said. Photo Credit: Washingtonville Police Department

An Orange County man has been arrested for driving his car into a police officer who had told him to move out of a gas line during the post-Hurricane Sandy fuel crunch, police said.

Robert Rabinowitz, 62, of Smith Court in Washingtonville, faces charges of first-degree reckless endangerment, a felony; third-degree assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration, penalties; and two traffic violations, Washingtonville Police Chief Stephen Bogert said Thursday.

Rabinowitz was at the end of the line at a Stewart's convenience store on State Route 94 Sunday about 8:45 a.m. when the officer, who was directing traffic along the gas line, told him to drive around again because he was blocking the entrance to a neighboring gas station, Bogert said.

"State Route 94 kind of bottlenecks there," Bogert noted. In addition to blocking the neighboring store, which was open for business but had no gas, Rabinowitz's car was sticking out into Route 94 and impeding traffic, he said.

"The officer told him to go around and come back and if there was room, we'd try and get him into the line," Bogert said.

Instead, Rabinowitz argued with the officer, then drove into him, the police chief said. The officer, whom Bogert declined to identify, suffered injuries to his left leg and foot, back and right hand, and suffered what the chief called "road rash" on his head. He was treated at St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital's Newburgh campus and released.

Police spotted Rabinowitz driving through the village about 5:30 p.m. Monday and arrested him, this time without incident, Bogert said.

Rabinowitz was arraigned Monday before Blooming Grove Town Court Justice Christopher Turpin and sent to Orange County Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail. His next court date is Dec. 12 in Washingtonville Village Court. Information on his legal representation wasn't available Thursday.

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