N.Y. motorist leads police on 100-mph-plus pursuit, attacks them

By Christine Armario, Staff writer; Staff writers Michael Frazier and Wil Cruz contributed to this story.
Copyright 2006 Newsday, Inc.

She just kept speeding. And then it got violent.

That's what police say happened yesterday afternoon when a Nassau police officer tried to pull Linda Harley over for speeding. Instead of stopping, she decided to go faster - leading police on a 100-mph-plus chase on the Long Island Expressway through Nassau and Suffolk counties that ended only when they placed spikes on the road.

Her tires blown near Exit 66 in Yaphank, police said Harley, 54, of 370 Atlantic Ave., Bellport, tried to run over an officer with her Toyota RAV4, crossed over the median into the westbound lanes and hit a barrier. Finally stopped, police said she emerged with an anti-vehicle theft club and began taking swings at three Suffolk highway patrol officers.

Each suffered bruises as a result, one nearly breaking his hand. They were treated at Stony Brook University Hospital and later released, police said.

Police said Harley's leg was broken, but they were unclear on whether she was injured from the impact of the crash, in the confrontation with police or prior to the incident. She was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital in East Patchogue, where early yesterday evening she was undergoing surgery, police said.

She was charged with three counts of second-degree assault and one count of reckless endangerment for attempting to run over an officer. Suffolk police said Harley will also get a speeding ticket. A call placed to her home was not returned.

"She was speeding and did not want to be stopped," said Det. Sgt. Michael Fitzharris of Suffolk's Sixth Precinct. Fitzharris could not say why Harley was so insistent on trying to escape police.

Police said the incident began when Nassau police received at least two 911 calls about a possible drunken driver heading eastbound on the LIE. When an officer attempted to pull her over, she "intentionally tried to ram" into the officer's car, Fitzharris said.

Harley then accelerated up to 100 mph. When the officer backed off, police said she slowed down to about 70 mph, and the Nassau officer followed her to the Sagtikos Parkway, where he called in his position and dropped pursuit. Suffolk police then took over, shortly before 12:30 p.m., at Exit 49 in Melville, authorities said.

As several police vehicles and a helicopter joined the chase, other officers laid "Stop Stick" holding spikes on the expressway and shut down westbound traffic near Exit 66 - to prevent her from going into oncoming traffic once the spikes blew her tires.

In total, Suffolk police used nine police cruisers, three scene vehicles, at least one canine unit and a chopper, authorities said.

Staff writers Michael Frazier and Wil Cruz contributed to this story. 


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