By Connor Adams Sheets
Two men were facing a series of charges after a wild altercation last week left seven police officers injured and three vehicles smashed as the suspects unsuccessfully attempted to avoid arrest, police said.
Police officers combed Bayside and Little Neck streets, highways and wooded areas for more than two hours the evening of Oct. 6 in search of a man wanted for breaking into vehicles and stealing items as well as the theft of a van, police said.
A police helicopter, search dog, Emergency Service Unit trucks and a wide assortment of undercover and uniformed officers and their various vehicles descended on the area around the Adria Hotel at Northern Boulevard and 221st Street, where William Price evaded apprehension and fled police, according to witnesses. Price was found more than two hours later as he left the marshes between the Cross Island Parkway and Alley Pond Golf Center, according to police.
Lonnie Brockington was arrested shortly after a vehicle containing him and Price crashed into two police cars, one of which was unmarked, police said. Seven police officers sustained minor injuries during the crash, according to police.
Price was charged with grand larceny, two counts of criminal possession of stolen property, possession of burglars tools, criminal mischief and unauthorized use of a vehicle and criminal possession of stolen property, according to the Queens district attorney. His bail was set at $40,000.
Brockington was charged with second-degree assault, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, reckless endangerment, possession of burglar’s tools, criminal mischief, unauthorized use of a vehicle, resisting arrest, reckless driving and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, according to the DA. He was held on $5,000 bail. Both men were scheduled to return to court Oct. 22.
The incident took place only blocks from the 111th Precinct at Northern Boulevard and 215th Street.
Police responded at about 4 p.m. to a 911 call reporting two men breaking into vehicles in the hotel’s parking lot. When police officers arrived, Price and Brockington tried to escape in a stolen green Dodge Grand Caravan, officers said. A stolen laptop computer was found in the van, according to the authorities.
Dix Hills, L.I., resident Adam Teitelbaum said he was driving on 221st Street when a police officer gestured for him to get out of the way of the unmarked car — a black Chevrolet Impala — which he said turned off Northern up 221st, where the van, which had two large stickers depicting bald eagles and “USA” on its rear, had just left the hotel’s parking lot and was attempting a getaway.
“The van was coming out of the parking lot, trying to get out on the street. It seems like he was caught red-handed doing something. Dude, it’s just hectic. I’ve never seen a deployment of police resources to this level,” Teitelbaum said. “I was just looking at apartments in Bayside and all of a sudden I was almost T-boned by a green van.”
The unmarked car’s rear left side and the van’s entire left side crashed into one another and slid, hitting the marked police car, and Brockington was removed from the van and taken into police custody, according to police and Bayside resident Tom, who declined to give his last name but said he was taking his granddaughter to tutoring class across the street when he saw the incident take place.
“This van was coming down 221st Street, so the two police cars were making a left turn off Northern and they put him right up on the corner. He was trying to leave and the cops blocked him in and he hit one of the cop cars,” he said.
Cynthia Radalj lives in an apartment directly behind the Adria Hotel’s raised parking lot. She said the lot has been a problem before.
“There’s people hanging out there at 3 in the morning, shifty, doing things. I don’t know what they’re doing, but they’re there late at night, I can hear them from my window,” she said. “I’ve called the cops when kids are messing around up here and they don’t even show up, so this must be something crazy.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.