NY police officer critically injured by falling light pole during pursuit

Jonathan Negron, 29, who has been on the force for two years, was taken to the hospital with severe head trauma

By Harold Mcneil
The Buffalo News

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Buffalo police officer was seriously injured while pursuing four suspects in a car when a light pole hit by the fleeing vehicle fell and pierced his patrol car's window.

The four suspects — who police began chasing around 1 p.m. after a report of men with a gun in a white car at Crossman Avenue and Genesee Street — were apprehended at the scene of the crash on Harlem Road at Mafalda Drive in Cheektowaga, Capt. Jeffrey Rinaldo said.

The injured officer is 29-year-old Jonathan Negron, a patrol officer with Ferry-Fillmore District, Rinaldo confirmed. Negron was driven by a fellow police officer to Erie County Medical Center, where he is listed in critical condition with a head injury, Rinaldo said.

John Evans, president of the Buffalo police union, said the actions of the officers who came to Negron's aid were "nothing short of heroic."

"I believe they saved his life," Evans said.

Some of the officers "were going there to assist in apprehending suspects when their focus shifted to saving Jonathan," Evans added.

He said the officers found him unconscious and performed CPR on him before loading him into a detective car and rushing him to ECMC.

The officers who came to Negron's aid were from the Ferry- Fillmore and Northeast districts.

Meanwhile, any specific charges against the suspects who were arrested Thursday have not yet been released.

"At this point, it's very early on still in this investigation," Rinaldo said. "So I don't have information on the charges."

The pursuit went from Crossman and Genesee onto Pine Ridge Road, into the Mount Calvary Cemetery.

As the suspects drove out of the cemetery onto Harlem, their vehicle hit the light pole and two parked cars.

The officer was injured about seven minutes after the initial 911 call was dispatched and just over 2 miles away from Crossman and Genesee.

Federal, state and local police officers were gathering evidence from sites along the pursuit route.

The Buffalo police homicide unit is handling the criminal investigation.

Rinaldo said Buffalo police have a policy restricting high speed pursuits. Internal affairs officers will review whether it was followed, he said.


(c)2021 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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