In the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, just moments before Wednesday’s midnight, NYPD officers on patrol spotted a blue Nissan Altima with suspicious plates cruising along Liberty Ave. near Merrick Blvd. Their hunch was correct; the plates were fake and expired out-of-state registrations linked to another vehicle.
Attempting to initiate a traffic stop, the officers were met with resistance. The driver, later identified as East Flatbush, Brooklyn resident Lenni Rodriguez Cruz, 28, decided to evade. He sped down Liberty Ave., weaving through Rufus King Park in downtown Jamaica. His wild ride forced several pedestrians to scramble to safety as the car darted into the flow of Hillside Ave. traffic.
The chase culminated dramatically on Parsons Blvd. near the Grand Central Parkway service road. Rodriguez Cruz’s desperate bid to escape resulted in a crash involving four vehicles, including a police cruiser. Here, the NYPD finally managed to apprehend him.
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A bite in the night
But Rodriguez Cruz’s arrest did not mark the end of the night’s commotion. “While lodged in the precinct cells, the individual [Rodriguez-Cruz] began acting disorderly and bit off a portion of a sergeant’s finger, causing serious physical injury,” stated an NYPD representative. A distressing image shared by an NYPD insider captured the moment: the injured officer at Jamaica Hospital displaying the wounded tip of his left ring finger.
Facing the repercussions of his actions, Rodriguez Cruz was slapped with multiple charges, including DUI and assault, intending to cause disfigurement or dismemberment. When brought before the Queens Criminal Court for his arraignment, he entered a plea of “not guilty.” It’s vital to remember that all charges at this stage are just allegations. Like all defendants, Rodriguez Cruz is presumed innocent until proven guilty.