01/11/2008

N.Y. officer hit by drunk driver

By Robert Gavin
Albany Times Union

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — A city police officer accused last year of leaving the scene of an accident on the Northway was injured this morning near Union College when his vehicle was hit by a drunk driver, authorities said.

Officer Darren Lawrence's cruiser was struck after he crossed the intersection of Union and Lafayette Street about 1:15 a.m., said Officer Christopher Wrubel, a police spokesman.

Lawrence sustained neck and back injuries, was treated at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady and released. He was on routine patrol at the time.

Aaron Kopp, 23, of Niskayuna, was later charged with aggravated DWI for driving with a blood alcohol intoxication level of .18 -- more than twice the legal limit, Wrubel said.

Kopp was treated by paramedics at the scene.

In October 2006, an off-duty Lawrence was arrested after he allegedly lost control of his car, sending it flipping into a ditch near Watervliet Shaker Road in Colonie.

Lawrence allegedly fought with a passenger who wanted to report the crash. At the time, Lawrence was charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, a misdemeanor, and placed on leave.

The status of the case was not immediately known. It was also unclear when Lawrence returned to duty.

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