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Buffalo police officer dragged, five others injured in pursuit of teen driver in stolen vehicle

Buffalo Police Car
Posted at 2:12 PM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 11:15:00-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Six Buffalo police officers are recovering from injuries they sustained during the pursuit of a 16-year-old driver that started in the Kenfield neighborhood and ended in the Fruit Belt neighborhood on Monday night.

Buffalo Police Department Captain Jeff Rinaldo says the incident started in a parking lot of a gas station at Bailey Avenue and Langfield Drive at 11:20 p.m. The gas station shares an intersection with the Buffalo Police Department's E-District headquarters. Rinaldo says officers stopped a stolen vehicle in the lot and tried to get the occupants of the vehicle.

Police say the driver, a 16-year-old male from Buffalo, put the car in reverse and tried to back away. Lieutenant Nicole Santiago was dragged by the vehicle and injured. The incident was captured in the surveillance video shown below.

Other officers pursued the vehicle. During the pursuit, police say an oncoming car swerved to avoid hitting the stolen vehicle and struck a police vehicle, injuring two officers.

Two other officers and a lieutenant were also injured, when police say the suspect hit a parked vehicle near Peach Street and Best Street and ran. Those officers were hurt in the foot chase to apprehend the suspect.

The 16-year-old suspect was virtually arraigned Tuesday on the following charges:

  • One count of Assault on a Peace Officer, Police Officer, Firefighter or Emergency Medical Services Professional (Class “C” violent felony)
  • One count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree (Class “E” felony)
  • One count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor)
  • One count of Unlawful Fleeing a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor)
  • One count of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor)
  • Various Vehicle and Traffic Law violations

The suspect is due back in court for a felony hearing Friday. Prosecutors requested that he be remanded and the judge set bail at $25,000 cash, $30,000 bond or $50,000 partially secured bond. If convicted of all charges, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

The incident is the second in less than a week in which a teen driver was involved in a pursuit that resulted in injuries to a Buffalo police officer. On Thursday, Officer Jonathan Negron suffered a severe head injury when a suspect struck a pole during a pursuit. The pole landed on Negron's patrol vehicle. Negron is in critical condition at ECMC.

The six officers injured in Monday night's incident suffered injuries that are not life-threatening, and they are expected to recover.