On-Duty Naugatuck Police Officer Struck by Stolen Vehicle Driven by Teen

Naugatuck Police say Officer Hailey Zarzuela was responding to reports of a stolen car seen near the area of Elm Street Tuesday when her marked cruiser was struck.

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Police dashcam video shows the moment police say a 15-year-old driving a stolen car from Avon struck an on-duty Naugatuck officer.

“As a department, we are thankful, Officer Hailey Zarzuela's injuries were minor as the car video shows how quickly it unfolded,” said Naugatuck Police Chief C. Colin McAllister.

Police say officers were following up on a "ping" for a stolen 2019 Audi A-5 out of Avon Monday night. They say the car’s manufacturer installed anti-theft equipment that helps locate the car.

“Which will result in a ping or signal being sent out to the vehicle's location and the manufacturer will contact law enforcement and work with us to try to determine the vehicle's whereabouts,” McAllister said.

Police were notified on Tuesday the stolen Audi was in their town about 30 miles from where it was taken. An officer saw the car in a commercial parking lot and called for assistance.

“While all of this was occurring, the second officer hearing the request for assistance began to respond, as this officer pulled into the commercial trucking lot, the Audi emerged from a row of bushes and struck the officer's marked patrol vehicle and disabled it,” McAllister said.

The driver of the stolen vehicle, identified by police as a 15-year-old male from Naugatuck, continued driving toward downtown, according to authorities. Police say he left the car in a commercial parking lot and fled on foot.

Police caught up with the teen and took him into custody. They say he is known to Naugatuck Police and surrounding law enforcement agencies.

“We believe he is involved in other vehicle thefts,” McAllister said.

The teen is facing numerous charges including reckless driving and assault on a police officer. Zarzuela sustained minor injuries to her arm and leg and was released from the hospital on Tuesday night.

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