Three male police officers are recovering after being struck by a car in East Hartford on Tuesday afternoon.
The officers were hit while in the area of Pitkin Street, near the Hampton Inn. Police had observed an alleged drug transaction in a parking lot. One person was in the vehicle that hit the officers.
The suspect backed out of a parking space and hit a few vehicles, along with three officers who were all on foot. The suspect fled, and police were able to catch up to him in the area of Silver Lane, on Knollwood Drive.
"We heard gunshots...and we thought maybe we had a flat tire...and the next thing you know, we looked over and there were two cops and then another person on the ground," said Kate Biedron, whose vehicle was one of the parked cars hit in the parking lot.
The suspect was identified as 52-year-old Kevin McNeilly, of Manchester.
In the area of Silver Lane, investigators found bags of heroin that had been reportedly thrown out the suspect's car window, and onto the street. Eyewitnesses said they counted 23 police cars flying down the street.
At least one officer fired his weapon. The suspect was not hit.
The three officers were taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The East Hartford police chief went to the hospital to see the three injured officers. As of Tuesday night, two of the officers had been released from the hospital and the third was being held overnight for observation.
"We pray for their health and their welfare, and hope they travel on to be able to perform their jobs again in the future," said East Hartford Deputy Police Chief Beau Thurnauer.
McNeilly was charged with engaging police in pursuit, interfering with police, possession of narcotics, and tampering with evidence. He is expected to appear in court on Wednesday and is also expected to face additional charges related to striking the officers. McNeilly also has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for drug possession and larceny.
Stay updated with Eyewitness News as more information becomes available.
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