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Suffolk County Police Officer Hurt In Hit-And-Run; 2 In Custody

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A driver struck two police officers -- leaving one critically injured -- and took off on Long Island Monday, leading to a chase and three separate crime scenes.

As CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, it all started as what was believed to be a sting operation by a Suffolk County police officer in Huntington, but it turned into far more.

On Monday afternoon, a plainclothes police officer was left with grave injuries after being struck by the driver who sped off.

"There probably was about 15 people surrounding him. So they worked on him diligently, and he was definitely awake, when you could hear him," said witness Sara Werbitsky.

Officers Nicholas Guerrero and Heriberto Lugo pulled over a suspicious Ford Explorer on Partridge Lane in Huntington around 1:35 p.m. Monday. The driver sped off and hit Officer Guerrero, who fell into the street with head injuries, police said.

The hit-and-run driver then fled to Commack, pushing an 85-year-old woman away from her car and stealing it in her driveway near Dovecote Lane and Wisteria Way, police said.

A man who watched the chase told CBS 2 what he saw.

"My neighbor was in the driveway with her car, and evidently, they carjacked her car. They didn't hurt her or anything," said the witness, Lou Darconti.

But the trail didn't end there. From Huntington to Commack, the driver – still on the run with the woman's carjacked Toyota Camry – fled to Central Islip, police said.

The chase finally ended in the parking lot of a Target store in Central Islip, where police said the car was finally stopped. Two people were taken into custody at the scene, police said.

Sean McAllister of Northport said the alleged perpetrators were his brother and nephew, fleeing from police because they had a stolen car.

"Running from the cops – they're bad guys. It's sad. I helped the detective catch them," McAllister said, adding that his brother and nephew were wanted by police for "stealing cars; just doing bad things."

Sources said Officer Guerrero was struck was on a ventilator with head injuries at Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook late Monday afternoon. Police said he suffered he was being treated at the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.

"Officer Guerrero is a very hardworking, dedicated, well-respected member of police department," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Edward Webber said in a news release. "He joined the SCPD in 2010 and because of his excellent interviewing skills, investigative abilities and strong ability to interact well with the public, he was assigned to the Second Precinct Crime Section after only four years. He is a true professional. Our thoughts are with him and his family and we pray for his full recovery."

"Each and every day the brave men and women of the Suffolk County Police Department risk their own wellbeing to protect the residents of this County," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in the release. "Officer Guerrero is a true public servant whose bravery, valor and devotion to the job have earned him the highest respect from his superiors and fellow officers alike. It is a travesty anytime a police officer is hurt in the line of duty. Suffolk County's thoughts and prayers are with Officer Guerrero and his family."

Officer Lugo also suffered minor injuries, police said.

The Suffolk County Police Department's Vehicular Crime Unit is investigating.

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