A grand jury has indicted an Amityville man for allegedly leading police on a car chase last November that seriously injured a female officer, Nassau County prosecutors said.
Louie Blanton 24, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Wednesday on felony charges of assault on a police officer and first-degree assault. A judge set his bail at $510,000 bond or $260,000 cash.
Blanton’s Garden City-based lawyer, Joseph LoPiccolo, said his client was not involved in the crash that left the 19-year police veteran with a fractured spine, a collapsed lung, fractured ribs and several other serious injuries. She is still unable to work, officials said.
“He wasn’t present,” at the time of the incident, LoPiccolo said, adding, there’s no physical or scientific evidence that connects his client to the crash.
Blanton faces 10 to 25 years if convicted.
Police and prosecutors said that on Nov. 21, an officer responded to reports of a suspicious vehicle in North Massapequa and attempted to pull over the vehicle, but the driver fled on the Southern State Parkway.
When Blanton reached Exit 32, he intentionally slammed on his brakes, prosecutors alleged, forcing the officer to swerve out of the way. The officer lost control of her police cruiser, slammed into a guardrail, bounced back into traffic, and was hit by another vehicle. Prosecutors said Blanton fled the scene after the incident.
“Police officers risk everything to protect and serve our communities, and this crash shows just how dangerous the job can be,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement. “These upgraded charges carry a far stiffer penalty and truly reflect the danger this defendant poses.”
Police said back in March that the injured officer, who hasn’t been named, is lucky to be alive.