An East Meadow man pleaded guilty Monday to felony assault charges after he struck and dragged a Suffolk County police officer with his car in January and then led police on a 14-mile car chase.
Robert Stein, 54, entered a guilty plea July 29 at Suffolk County Court in Riverhead to second-degree assault with intent to cause injury to a police officer, according to court records. He now faces seven year in prison at his sentencing on Sept. 25.
The charges against him stem from a Jan. 25 incident at the Park and Ride facility off the Long Island Expressway near Exit 49 in Melville. Community Oriented Police Enforcement Officer John McAleavy and his partner Officer Jean Paul Kergarava were on patrol that morning in the parking lot when they spotted Stein’s car. Police said his vehicle matched a description of a car being used to steal gas from local service stations.
That’s when police said McAleavey approached and the situation turned awry. As the officer asked for his driver’s license, Stein hit the pedal and struck the police officer with his car, cops said at the time. The officer’s gun belt became lodged on the car’s side view mirror and he was dragged nearly 200 yards.
Those 200 yards, according to police, were two lanes of the parking lot and officials said the officer held onto the car’s hood before Stein started to slow down in an attempt to enter onto the service road of the Long Island Expressway. The reduction in speed allowed for the officer to dislodge his equipment belt and free himself before Stein continued onto the busy highway.
As he continued on the westbound roadway, police were right behind him. Suffolk County police officers and New York State Police pursued him as he continued west on the LIE before he exited the highway for the Northern State Parkway. He continued driving and with officers on his tail, police said the East Meadow native exited in Mineola and tried to evade officers on residential streets. He was eventually apprehended when he drove down East Second Street – a dead end.
Officer McAleavey was not the only officer injured in the incident, State Police said. A trooper responding to assist fellow officers was injured when his marked patrol car crashed at the corner of Jericho Turnpike and Nassau Boulevard in Garden City Park. Both he and McAleavey were treated at local hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries.
usedview.com caught up with Stein the morning after his arrest as he was led from Suffolk County’s Third Precinct in Bay Shore to his initial court appearance on the charges. He said nothing as he walked handcuffed and flanked by two police officers to a waiting bus to be brought to court.
Stein still faces a slew of additional charges from the incident at First District Court in Central Islip. On eight separate dockets, he faces charges of resisting arrest, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, unlawful fleeing of a police officer, petit larceny and reckless driving. In those cases, he has maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty. He is due to appear again in court for those cases on Tuesday.
An attorney listed for Stein in court records could not be reached Monday evening for comment.