Suspect who hurt three East Hartford officers faces judge - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Suspect who hurt three East Hartford officers faces judge

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Three East Hartford officers were hurt by a suspect Tuesday afternoon. (WFSB photo). Three East Hartford officers were hurt by a suspect Tuesday afternoon. (WFSB photo).
Kevin McNeilly. (East Hartford police photo) Kevin McNeilly. (East Hartford police photo)

A man accused of hurting three East Hartford officers and leading another in a pursuit faced a judge on Wednesday.

Police said 52-year-old Kevin McNeilly was arraigned in Manchester Superior Court following Tuesday afternoon's wild scene.

Eyewitness News learned that the incident was not McNeilly's first brush with the law. He has an extensive criminal history of larceny and drugs. In total, he has 32 prior arrests. He was convicted of running from police and was currently on probation in New Jersey for not paying taxes on cigarettes.

"He panicked. He's on probation. I'm sure he didn't mean to do that, what he did," suspect's friend Glenn Safranek said. 

Growing up with McNeilly, Safranek has known the suspect for his entire life. He said he knows about McNeilly's drug addiction.

"He's struggled with heroin for 10 to 15 years," Safranek said. 

Shortly after 3 p.m., three officers spotted the Manchester native in the act of buying a batch of heroin labeled "rush" in the parking lot of a Hampton Inn on East River Drive. 

On Wednesday, the officers were identified as Sgt. Joseph Ficacelli, Officer Christopher Coe, Officer Garrett Ostafin.

Police said when they approached McNeilly, he backed out with his vehicle, hit one officer and pinned the two others against a white Volkswagen. He then moved to pull out of the parking lot.

Officers fired their weapons but the suspect wasn't hit, according to police. Investigators said a short pursuit lasted for about two miles.

Court documents show McNeilly's left tire flew off, but he still kept going. He crashed through fences, drove on lawns before he was stopped more than two miles away on Knollwood Road.

Police said they believe he threw bags of heroin out of the car before he was taken in to custody.

"He's been trying to stop and he was on probation. So as far as I knew, he was done with it," Safranek said. "I don't know what happened. He must have slipped up."

Police said the three officers were released from Hartford Hospital. All of them suffered bruises, police added.

"We pray for their health and their welfare and hope they travel on to be able to perform their jobs again in the future," East Hartford Police Deputy Chief Beau Thurnauer previously told Eyewitness News. 

Following Tuesday's arrest, McNeilly faced a list of charges including interfering with police, leading them on a chase, drug possession and tampering with evidence.

"I hope they would give him the treatment he needs. He needs treatment," Safranek said. 

McNeilly was in a wheelchair when he entered the courtroom at Manchester Superior Court on Wednesday. He is being held on $800,000 bond. That bond was reduced from $1 million he faced on Tuesday. But his public defender said it's not one he's capable of posting.

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