01/22/2007

Two NYC officers assaulted following car accident

By Herbert Lowe, Staff Writer
Newsday

A car accident involving two off-duty rookie police officers in Manhattan quickly turned violent yesterday when three people in a car rear-ended by the officers' vehicle assaulted the cops, leaving one critically injured, police said.

On-duty officers who witnessed the assault arrested the assailants, at least two of whom have criminal records, at the scene, at West 28th Street and 10th Avenue in Chelsea, police said.

Police did not release the off-duty officers' names, but said they joined the NYPD in July.

One officer, age 29, is assigned to a police precinct in the Bronx, a police source said.

He suffered severe head trauma during the assault and was in critical condition at St. Vincent's Hospital Manhattan.

The other officer, age 21, was in stable condition at the hospital with unspecified injuries from the accident and assault, police said.

According to police, at 3:42 a.m., the rookie officers were traveling in a 2003 Ford Explorer north on 10th Avenue when it slid on ice and rear-ended a 2004 Nissan Maxima.

The older officer, who was driving, got out and began calling 911 via his cell phone.

It was unclear when exactly the other officer left the passenger seat, but the Maxima's occupants got out and started beating both officers.

It also was unclear whether the assailants knew they were cops.

The responding officers arrested Lamont Lafducade, 33, and Durvell Williams, 21, both of Brooklyn, and Thelma Lopez, 28, of the Bronx, police said.

A switchblade was found in the Maxima, and Lafducade was charged with driving while intoxicated, police said.

Lafducade, Williams and Lopez were each charged with two counts of assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

All three were awaiting arraignment last night in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Court records show that Lafducade was convicted of robbery in Staten Island and sentenced to 12 years in prison in 1997; he was paroled on a conditional release last March.

Court records were not available for Williams.

Lopez was arrested in Manhattan on Dec. 22 and charged with possession of marijuana, criminal mischief and assaulting a police officer.

She was released on her own recognizance in that case, and her next court date is Feb. 20, court records show.

In October, Lopez was arrested on a drug possession charge in Queens and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in exchange for a one-year conditional discharge, according to court records.

In an unrelated incident, a 2002 Mitsubishi driven by an off-duty FDNY firefighter struck a police officer who was attending to a car accident on the FDR Highway, near Clinton Street just north of the Manhattan Bridge, at 6:08 a.m. yesterday, police said.

The officer, who was only identified as a member of the NYPD K-9 unit, suffered leg injuries and was listed in stable condition at a local hospital, police said.

Firefighter Richard Frontera, 31, address unknown, was arrested and awaiting arraignment on a charge of driving while intoxicated, police said.

It was not known when he had last been on duty.

Copyright 2007 Newsday, Inc.

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