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Police: Suffolk County Cop Hurt After Alleged Drunken Driver Rear-Ends Cruiser

Salvatore Distefano (credit: Suffolk County Police)

Salvatore Distefano (credit: Suffolk County Police)

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PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Suffolk County police officer was injured when his cruiser was rear-ended by an alleged drunken driver, officials said.

The incident happened around 7 p.m. Sunday on Sunrise Highway in Patchogue as Officer Brian Smales investigated a fatal crash that occurred earlier in the day on the roadway.

Smales had placed his car, with emergency lights on, on the right shoulder of Sunrise Highway outside the lane of traffic, police said. A 2012 Chrysler later struck the rear of the cruiser, injuring the officer, police said.

Police said the driver of the Chrysler, identified as Salvatore Distefano, violated the state’s “Move Over Law” after he failed to slow down and move over to safely pass the parked cruiser.

Distefano, of Center Islip, was charged with driving while intoxicated, assault and violating the “Move Over Law.” The 29-year-old was treated at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center for facial injuries.

Smales was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital where he was treated for head, neck, back and leg injuries and released.