09/14/2006

Conn. officer dragged by car of fleeing suspect

The Associated Press
 
WATERBURY
, Conn.- A 42-year-old Naugatuck man sought for allegedly dragging a Waterbury police officer nearly a quarter-mile in his car was arrested early Wednesday after he had barricaded himself inside his home for hours, police said.

Michael Abdalla, 42, had been sought since the dragging incident Tuesday afternoon. After hours of negotiations, he was taken into custody about 5:20 a.m. Wednesday, according to police.

Lt. Christopher Corbett said that Abdalla barricaded himself inside his home and claimed that he was armed and threatened to hurt himself and police.

However, he was taken into custody without incident after police negotiators persuaded him to surrender, Corbett said.

Abdalla was taken to a local hospital for evaluation after he surrendered. He is charged with assault on a police officer and attempted assault in the first-degree.

The police officer is recovering from his injuries after being dragged by the suspect who fled a vehicle stop.

Patrolman Francis Brevetti, Jr., 26, suffered injuries to his head, back and shoulder on Tuesday. He was treated and released from Waterbury Hospital.

"After being dragged for a quarter of a mile, he is doing quite well," Police Chief Neil O'Leary said.
The suspect was wanted on charges of first-degree criminal attempted assault and assault on an officer.

The incident occurred just after 4 p.m. Tuesday when Brevetti and his partner Chris Zentek stopped a car on a traffic violation. Abdalla, who was driving, began to get out of the vehicle and was ordered back in. He allegedly punched Brevetti in the face and the two men struggled, police said. Abdalla then got back in the car and sped off, with the officer's arm stuck inside the driver's side window, police said.

The car reached speeds of 60 mph and the officer finally fell free after being dragged about 1,300 feet. Police lost sight of the car on Interstate 84 because of heavy traffic.

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