TOWN OF POUGHKEEPSIE – A town police officer in Poughkeepsie sustained serious injuries after being dragged by a fleeing vehicle on Tuesday afternoon. The incident drew dozens of town, city, and county law enforcement officers to the accident scene in front of MidHudson Regional Hospital just before 2 p.m.
Town of Poughkeepsie Police initially responded to the area of Home Depot on Route 9 (North Road) moments before the accident for a report of a man, tentatively identified as John Vanleuven, who stole power tools from the store and fled on foot.
Initial reports say a town officer spotted the suspect near the Campus Deli gas station at the intersection of Washington Street and North Avenue. The suspect allegedly jumped into a vehicle at the gas pump and attempted to flee from the officer.
A witness told Mid-Hudson News that the officer grabbed the door of the escaping vehicle at the gas station and was dragged until the vehicle collided with a second vehicle in front of the medical building at 243 North Road, in front of the hospital. The officer was pinned between and partially under the two vehicles until police, fire, and ambulance personnel extricated him.
He was treated by members of the Fairview Fire District and rushed by ambulance up the hill to the hospital. A second person, tentatively identified as the suspect Vanleuven, was transported to the hospital in a semi-conscious state by Mobile Life.
The intersection of Washington Street and North Road was expected to be closed for an extended period of time while the accident reconstruction team investigated the collision.
As of 4 p.m., a source told Mid-Hudson News that the officer had been examined and treated for injuries including a laceration to the head, was conscious, and considered to be in “good spirits.”