5 officers injured within 24 hours

June 29, 2009 3:59:51 PM PDT
Five police officers were injured in less than 24 hours in Philadelphia. The latest incident ended with three officers hurt in the city's Hunting Park section.The accident happened around 11:10 Sunday night at the intersection of Whitaker and Erie Avenues.

Police say a drunk driver in an SUV swerved into opposing traffic on Erie Avenue and crashed into the police cruiser, which had two officers inside.

The male and a female officers were rushed to Temple University Hospital.

The female officer suffered a cut to the head and the male officer had leg and head injuries.

A third officer was injured while arresting the DUI suspect.

All three officers were treated at the hospital and released.

The accident happened less than 24 hours after two other officers were hit by a speeding car in the Port Richmond section of the city.

Officer Richard Hayes, 28, remains in a medically-induced coma as doctors gauge the severity of his injuries. He landed on his head after being struck during a traffic stop. He is listed in critical condition but stable condition at Aria Frankford Hospital.

Doctors are trying to stabilize him so he could be moved to a hospital that specializes in head injuries.

The injuries of his partner, George Higginson, 22, are far less severe. He is at Hahnemann Hospital and may be released later Monday.

Police say the two 24th district officers were struck by a speeding SUV during a motor vehicle stop in Port Richmond around 1:20 a.m. Sunday. They were responding to several reports of street racing in the area.

The two were searching a red Toyota because the driver appeared to be under the influence. Suddenly, a Honda SUV appeared out of nowhere going at a high rate of speed, side swiping the police cruiser and then slamming into the rear of the Toyota.

Police say both cops were sent into the air. Officer Hayes landed on his head.

The driver of the SUV tried to escape, police say, but he was quickly captured. He has been identified as 20-year-old John Cusick of the 3500 block of Rockview Drive in Bristol, Bucks County.

Cusick is charged with aggravated assault while driving under the influence and reckless endangerment.

The driver of the Toyota is also in custody.

"We don't know if they were drag racing or not," said Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. "The second person was certainly going at a very high rate of speed. They had the first individual stopped and were in the process of searching that car when the accident occurred."

Officer Richard Hayes is the nephew of the late Officer Robert Hayes, who was killed in the line of duty back in 1993.

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