A Naugatuck police officer has serious injuries after officials believe he was intentionally hit by a car along Route 63 Thursday afternoon.
The officer was working a private duty job when the incident happened around 4 p.m., according to police.
Naugatuck Police said they were initially called to Walmart on New Haven Road to investigate a shoplifting. A responding officer approached a suspect getting into a car in the area when they engaged police in a foot chase before being taken into custody, according to authorities.
While this happened, the suspected getaway car, a gray 2006 Honda Ridgeline, was fleeing the scene when they allegedly struck a police officer at their traffic post on Route 63, police said.
The officer, identified as Lt. Mark Pettinicchi, was directing traffic at an extra-duty traffic post in the area and tried to signal for the Honda to stop when they were rammed into, authorities said.
Police said Pettinicchi was taken to the hospital with serious injuries that required extensive surgery and is now recovering. He had a shattered left ankle, a fractured right tibia and a fractured right ankle as a result of the crash, officials said.
Pettinicchi is a veteran officer who has been working with the Naugatuck Police Department for 19 years.
Officials said that witness statements obtained during their investigation portrayed the incident as intentional.
The police officer was able to call for backup and other Naugatuck officers initiated a pursuit of the car after it failed to stop.
The car was eventually stopped on Interstate 84 in Middlebury. Police said that throughout the pursuit, people in the car had discarded drugs, money and a pistol, which were all later found and seized This included over $14,000 in cash, 412 bags of heroin, 11 grams of cocaine and a .380 pistol.
Both the driver and passenger of the car, identified as Stanton Ragar Trent and Asia Shynise Paulin, were taken into custody. The scene of the crash was processed by investigators.
Trent faces charges including first-degree robbery, first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and more. Bond was set at $1 million for Trent and $250,000 for Paulin.
The other person arrested on New Haven Road, Francis Joseph Ibell, faces charges including first-degree robbery and interfering with an officer. His bond was set at $250,000.
Route 63 was shut down by High Street near American Pie Pizza but has since reopened, according to police. It was closed for several hours due to the ongoing investigation, police said.