Officer hurt when alleged drunken driver hits cruiser, man charged
A Suffolk police officer was injured when his cruiser was struck by an alleged drunken driver who fled the scene in Brookhaven.
The cruiser was struck Saturday in the eastbound lanes of Sunrise Highway near the William Floyd Parkway.
Investigators say the officer was helping a driver whose vehicle had caught fire on the highway when a van suddenly smashed into the officer's marked patrol car. The van driver then took off on foot.
The driver, identified as 27-year-old Carlos Morocho, of Center Moriches, was found a short time later and taken into custody.
The officer was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital to be treated for injuries that are not considered life-threatening. The officer was not identified, but authorities say he is a nine-year veteran of the force.
Morocho is facing a slew of charges that include driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident, aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, failure to move over for an emergency vehicle, false personation and operating a vehicle without an interlock device. Court records show Morocho has been charged twice with DWI in the past.
According to police documents, Morocho admitted to having "eight or nine beers" before Saturday's crash.
Morocho pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Sunday and was ordered held on $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash bail.