MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for a police chase that led to a crash which left a Nassau County officer seriously injured and unable to work.
Louie Blanton, 24, of Amityville, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault upon a police officer, unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, and criminal possession of a weapon in January.
Blanton led police on a high-speed chase on the Southern State Parkway on Nov. 21, 2011.
The chase was sparked after a North Massapequa resident called police about someone switching license plates on their car.
Officer Colleen Magnifico responded and tried to pull over Blanton, but he drove into incoming traffic and then sped off onto the Southern State Parkway in an effort to evade the officer, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
Near Exit 32 in Farmingdale, Blanton slammed on the brakes, causing the officer to swerve and hit a guardrail, which propelled the cruiser back into traffic, where it was hit by another vehicle, Rice said.
Magnifico suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured spine, collapsed lung, fractured ribs, and fractures to her sternum, collarbone, shoulder blade, and nasal bone, Rice said. The court was told she will never be able to return to work, CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan reported.
“Assaults like this are a reminder of the danger that police officers willingly place themselves in every day,” Rice said in a statement. “The severity of this crash and the violence inflicted upon this officer cannot be overstated, nor can her bravery and the quality of the police work that led to Louie Blanton’s capture.”
James Carver, president of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, said Magnifico will suffer from her injuries for the rest of her life and feels Blanton’s sentence was too light.
“She was near death, he left her there to die, that’s the bottom line and now he’s only getting 10 years,” Carver said.
Magnifico’s husband, Greg, told Blanton in court, “You took a truly great cop, now she can’t do her job anymore.”
“I would have run over you. She showed you compassion going around you,” he told Blanton.
There was a strong police showing in court for the sentencing.
“She was a phenomenal runner, she was always very active. And seeing her today, how she is physically today, is just devastating to me mentally,” said Magnifico’s friend and fellow Nassau County police officer, Kurt Faraczek. “I worked with her, I helped train her. She was absolutely an amazing police officer.”
Blanton apologized at the sentencing.
“There is remorse, there’s no question of remorse, that was never an issue with him,” attorney Joseph LoPiccolo said.
Outside court, Blanton spoke to reporters, including CBS 2′s McLogan.
“God forgives. I’m innocent, do this time, move on, be a better person,” said Blanton.
Blanton’s mother, Geraldine, said her son did not hurt Magnifico intentionally.
“He wouldn’t have hurt a cop for nothing,” she said. “He does feel remorse for even being involved in this thing. He’s really a sweetheart.”
Blanton has been in jail for approximately 16 months and could be released in about seven years, WCBS 880′s Ginny Kosola reported.
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