Man accused in New Year’s crash with cop faces upgraded charges

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A New Hyde Park man was arraigned on upgraded charges Wednesday after being accused of causing a head-on collision while drunk that injured a Nassau police officer.

Keith Dillon, 29, is now facing charges that include aggravated vehicular assault for the New Year's Day crash.

Authorities say Dillon drank as many as eight glasses of wine at a New Year's Eve party in Bayville, as well as shots of whiskey, before getting behind the wheel of his pickup truck.

They say he was driving south on Glen Cove Road when he crossed into oncoming traffic, hitting Officer Willard Gomes, who was on DWI patrol at the time.

The prosecutor said Dillon's blood alcohol content was .27 that night, more than three times the legal limit. He was allegedly driving 70 mph at the time of the crash and didn’t hit the brakes before impact.

Officer Gomes, a 13-year veteran of the Nassau County Police Department, has had several surgeries to repair his knee, leg and elbow. He spoke outside the courthouse in Mineola about the irony of being the victim of a suspected drunken driver while on DWI patrol.

“I was out that night trying to prevent that kind of injury to someone else,” said Officer Gomes. “Hopefully it can be a lesson to someone else, even if that means saving someone else's life. The defendant, and myself, we are both lucky that I'm alive.”

Dillon pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him. He had no comment for News 12. His attorney Marc Gann called the incident “a tragic event.”

“He feels incredibly remorseful for what happened,” said Gann.

If convicted of the top charge, Dillon faces 15 years in prison.

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