Officer struck during arrest

March 6, 2009 4:04:40 PM PST
A New Jersey police officer is recovering after being struck by a car after responding to burglary call.Cinnaminson police received a call on Thursday that two suspicious men were loading TVs, computers and other househol items from a home into an SUV.

Sgt. Frank Rooney suffered injuries to his hand and knee after the suspects allegedly tried to run him down while fleeing the scene.

The incident was caught on a patrol car's dashboard camera.

Sgt. William Covert described what happened to Action News.

He says Sgt. Rooney got out of his car, while Sgt. Covert approached up the driveway. Both men have their weapons drawn.

Sgt. Covert says they told the suspects to stop, and that's when the driver hit the gas, and cut across a yard.

"Unfortunately Sgt. Rooney, because it happened so fast, he wasn't able to get out of the way," Sgt. Covert said.

"They drove right at us. They meant to hit us."

Thats when another officer backs his cruiser away, cuts across the lawn and pursues the SUV, which was stolen.

Unknowingly, the suspects turn into a dead end, abandon their vehicle and take off, jumping into a frozen tributary of the Pennsauken Creek.

Within minutes, patrol units from around the area captured the two on the other side.

"They went through the water, both of them were completely soaked with water," said Ptl. William Obuchowski.

People living nearby were horrified at the violence right outside their doors.

"On any given day I could have been walking into my car as the suspects' car pulled up behind me," said Maryann Lorimar of Cinnaminson.

18 year old Francisco Rubio of Philadelphia and his accomplice, a 17 year old cousin, face a litany of charges.

Police say they are also suspects in a series of burglaries and car thefts in Lower Moreland Twp.

Local residents say theyre thankful Sgt. Rooney wasn't seriously injured, but upset police are exposed to such risks.

"You're a special kind of person to do that work, and then to go out there and have people that think nothing of the value of life, and just trample you down. It's just terrible so we're very fortunate here," said Fabiene Brown of Cinnaminson.

Sgt. Rooney's injuries were minor, and he has been since released from the hospital. He may return to work as soon as next week.

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