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105th’s Finest recognized

Officers Joseph Manzella (l.-r.), Ryan Scannel, Anthony Crescimanno and Joseph Grubert are honored by Commanding Officer Joseph Courtesis as the 105th Precinct's Cops of the Month for August. Photo by Rich Bockmann
TimesLedger Newspapers

Four officers, including three who were struck by a suspect’s car as they tried to make an arrest in August, were given a stirring round of applause last week as they were honored at the 105th Precinct’s community council meeting.

It all started around 10 p.m. Aug. 16, when a man hijacked a vehicle in Flushing and led cops from the 109th Precinct on a high-speed chase, according to Deputy Inspector Joseph Courtesis, who caught up on three months’ worth of Cop of the Month awards at the council’s first meeting after its summer hiatus.

The 109th officers lost sight of the vehicle on Jamaica Avenue and called in the description to the 105th Precinct, and about 3 1/2 hours later Officer Ryan Scannel spotted the car. When Scannel attempted to pull the vehicle over, the driver took off at speeds of more than 90 miles per hour, Courtesis said, blowing through red lights before he tried to ditch the car.

Scannel chased the suspect down and apprehended him and then called for the assistance of Officers Joseph Grubert, Anthony Crescimanno and Joseph Manzella, who took the car back to the precinct and secured it in the lot while Scannel locked the driver up.

As the officers were standing out by the parking lot, they noticed a man drive by a few times looking into the lot.

“The male informed the officers that his friend was just arrested and that he left his phone inside the car that is in the parking lot,” Courtesis said.

The officers began to grow suspicious that the driver may have something to do with the carjacking and asked him to step out of the vehicle, at which point he put the car in gear and hit Crescimanno on his hip and elbow and ran over Grubert’s foot before hitting a parked car, according to the 103rd’s top cop.

He then threw the car into reverse and knocked Manzella to the ground, running over both his legs twice before speeding off, Courtesis said.

All three officers were taken to North Shore Manhasset Hospital. Crescimanno and Grubert were released, and Manzella spent two days in the hospital.

“After one month on the injured list, he just got back to full duty,” Courtesis said. “These guys were lucky. The incident just demonstrates how quickly things can go bad.”

Courtesis said the driver later turned himself in and was charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of assault on a police officer.

The precinct’s top cop continued to dole out the congratulations to two more officers, Michael Cerrula and Steven Ricca, who were honored as the June Cops of the Month.

The school safety officers recovered a firearm and a mask when they chased down four suspects they had noticed driving around in a vehicle casing students near a school.

“This alone deserves the Cop of the Month Award, but what makes this a little bit more significant is while they had the four perps in custody, one wasn’t standing appropriately,” Courtesis said. “Something just didn’t look right about him.”

When the officers looked in the suspect’s shoe, they found another gun, Courtesis said.

“This could have been really bad,” the deputy inspector said. “They could have put the guy in the car, driven him down to the station house and something terrible could have happened.”

Officers Suzanne Peterson and Michelle Collier were honored as the July Cops of the Month for thwarting a burglary in progress.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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