Injured New Haven Officer Rescues Fleeing Driver from Burning Car

An New Haven police officer injured when a utility pole fell on his cruiser rescued the fleeing driver who crashed into the pole from his burning vehicle.

Officer Michael Criscuolo witnessed Gerald Haag, 52, of North Branford, run a red light at 1:06 a.m. at the Grand Avenue and Front Street intersection on Wednesday, but when he tried to pull him over, he drove away, police said. Criscuolo pursued the car in a chase that lasted .7 miles.

When Haag crashed into a utility pole by 185 Front St., the pole snapped and landed on Criscuolo's windshield. Haag's vehicle caught fire and the blaze spread to the home at that address.

Criscuolo, although injured, got out of f his cruiser and ran to pull Haag from the burning car through the passenger door.

Officer Jaime Franceschi arrived soonafter on scene and evacuated two residents who were inside the home at the time of the fire.

Firefighters responded and put out the fire by 1:57 a.m.

Criscuolo and Haag were transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Haag, a convicted felon without a driver's licence, faces motor vehicle and criminal charges.Connecticut State Police have a warrant out for his arrest in a separate larceny incident.

The utility pole accident knocked out power for hundreds of residents work to restore power was underway early this morning.

New Haven's Accident Investigation Team is "reviewing the events of the crash" and will make the findings available to the public when the investigation is complete, police said in a news release.

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