HYDE PARK – A man struck a Hyde Park police officer with a car Sunday night as the officer was conducting an investigation during a traffic stop. While fleeing, the vehicle’s driver hit a vehicle on Albany Post Road (Route 9) and then crashed through the Hyde Park Library yard, and then crashed through the Nativity scene at Hyde Park Town Hall, coming to a stop against the town hall.
Hyde Park Police Chief Robert Benson said an officer pulled over a 2010 Acura occupied by two people for erratic driving around 10:30 pm. As the officer was speaking with the occupants, the driver sped away, striking the officer in the foot and knocking him to the ground.
The vehicle proceeded north on Route 9. Hyde Park police officers attempted to catch up and came across a wrecked Jeep in the middle of Albany Post Road. The Jeep had been struck by the fleeing Acura. After striking the Jeep, the Acura slid across the library property, across Main Street, through the Nativity scene, and came to a rest against town hall. The driver then fled the scene on foot, leaving his injured female passenger in the vehicle.
State Police and Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office K-9 units responded to the scene and tracked the vehicle operator, now identified as 22-year-old Mitchell Hezekiah, and took him into custody at the Vanderbilt Hotel at 1:12 a.m. on Monday.
Hezekiah was transported to MidHudson Regional Hospital for evaluation before being turned over to representatives from the State Department of Parole.
Mitchell, a Poughkeepsie resident with a previous conviction for attempted armed robbery, was released from prison in May of this year and was required to report to parole. He failed to report and a warrant for his arrest had been issued.
The 24-year-old female passenger, also of Poughkeepsie, is still being treated at MidHudson Regional Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The occupant of the Jeep, a 25-year-old male was uninjured in the collision.
Albany Post Road was closed for several hours while accident reconstruction was conducted by the State Police Crash Unit. Benson said there will be charges against Mitchell once the investigation has been concluded.
Hyde Park Police were also assisted by the Hyde Park Fire Department, Northern Dutchess Paramedics, State Park Police, and the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response.