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Suffolk County Officer Critically Injured In Hit-Run Released From Hospital

STONY BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Suffolk County police officer critically injured in a hit-and-run last month is taking a major step towards recovery.

Hundreds of fellow officers applauded as Officer Nicholas Guerrero, 36, was released from Stony Brook University Hospital and transferred to a rehabilitation facility Friday. There was even a police flyover to mark the emotional milestone.

Guerrero and his partner, Officer Heriberto Lugo, were both struck by a vehicle fleeing a traffic stop in Huntington.

Lugo suffered minor injuries.

But Guerrero, a four-year veteran, spent weeks in a medically induced coma after suffering a serious head injury.

Suffolk County Officer Critically Injured In Hit-Run Released From Hospital

Doctors had initially given Guerrero a 1 in 3 chance of surviving, but now the officer is speaking, walking and even joking, CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Friday.

"We are all ecstatic today at his great recovery," said Dr. James Vosswinkel, Chief of Trauma at Stony Brook University Hospital. "However, throughout this process, if it truly wasn't for Nick's character, his strength and his will as well as the overwhelming support of his immediate family as well as his extended family of the police department, I truly don't believe any of this could have happened."

Suffolk County Officer Critically Injured In Hit-Run Released From Hospital

Guerrero is expected to make a full recovery and there is even hope that he could return to the police force, Gusoff reported.

"He is a model of what a Suffolk County police officer should be," said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Ed Webber. "Nick's strength and faith have helped to get him through this horrific injury. Nick has made miraculous progress."

On Sept. 22, the officers had pulled over a stolen Ford Explorer on Partridge Lane, police said. As they tried to talk to two men inside the vehicle, the car took off and hit both officers, police said.

The driver of the vehicle, 34-year-old Chad Morizsan, then sped off to a local gas station where he stole gasoline and collided with another vehicle, police said.

That's when he and his passenger, 22-year-old Nicholas Franzone, sped off to Commack and carjacked a second car from an 87-year-old woman, police said.

The pair then fled to Central Islip, where police said they were finally arrested inside a Target store.

Morizsan and Franzone are facing a series of charges, including vehicular assault.

Morizsan, who is being held on $3 million bail, faces 50 years in prison if convicted of assault on a police officer. Charges could be upgraded.

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