Officer Mowed Down in Greenwich Village

By Tom Liddy on May 14, 2011 1:54pm | Updated on May 15, 2011 8:06am

This is the site on Washington Place in the Village where a Westchester man allegedly plowed into a plainclothes officer.
This is the site on Washington Place in the Village where a Westchester man allegedly plowed into a plainclothes officer.
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Tara Kyle/DNAinfo

By Tara Kyle and Tom Liddy

DNAinfo Staff

GREENWICH VILLAGE — A Westchester man unleashed mayhem in the Village Friday night, mowing down a plainclothes officer and leading police on a wild chase after he was told to move away from the scene of a drug arrest, authorities said.

Joseph Dellutri, 59, of Hartsdale, an engineer, pinned the 34-year-old officer against an iron fence and then tried to run him over again after he fell to the ground, a police source said.

"He knew that this individual was a police officer and he meant to hit him," the source said.

The frightening and bizarre episode unfolded when the officer and his partner were trying to make a drug arrest in front of 73 Washington Pl., near MacDougal Street, at 11:48 p.m.

After witnessing a trio of suspects make a hand-to-hand drug buy, the cops moved in to make an arrest with their shields displayed.

While they were attempting to make the arrest, Dellutri approached and "was trying to document what was going on with a cell phone camera," according to the source.

"There's absolutely nothing wrong with someone videotaping as long as they do not interfere," the source said.

But the suspect was "coming too close" and was ordered to step back, according to the source.

In a twist, officials said that Dellutri may have been arrested by the injured officer's partner two years ago.  That arrest was sealed.

At that point, Dellutri briefly left the scene, hopped into a Dodge Caravan and allegedly trained his sites on the officer.

"He drives the Caravan onto the sidewalk and strikes the officer," the source said.

The impact left the cop, a nine-year veteran, pinned against a fence and broke the concrete that the fence was anchored in.

When the officer fell to the ground, "the suspect backs up the caravan again and attempted to run over the officer a second time," but the cop managed to get out of the way, the source said.

Witness Mujtaba Qasim, 19, a freshman at NYU, said that when Dellutri arrived in the minivan, the officer "puts him on the ground real quick like a judo move and says, 'Stay there, stay there.' "

The railing at 73 Washington Place that Joseph Dellutri allegedly rammed an officer into.
The railing at 73 Washington Place that Joseph Dellutri allegedly rammed an officer into.
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DNAinfo/Tara Kyle

When the officer turned his attention to the drug suspects, "he reverses real quick and nails all three," Qasim said.

"All of them fly over the fence."

One of the drug suspects was yelling, "Officer you broke my a--," repeatedly, Qasim said. They then took off. The extent of their injuries was unclear.

The other officer, a four-year veteran, scooped up his partner and took him to Bellevue Hospital.

A short time later, the suspect allegedly returned to the scene.

After witnesses pointed him out, Dellutri allegedly took off, with cops from the 6th precinct on his tail.

In the maelstrom, he struck a car with people inside, but there were no serious injuries, sources said.

At West Street, he was blocked in by traffic and took off on foot.

Cops caught up to him at West and Jane streets at 11:55 p.m.

Dellutri was hit with a slew of charges including assault of a police officer with a deadly weapon, assault of a police officer, reckless endangerment, fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle and vehicular assault, police said.

The officer was in stable condition and suffered bone bruising, injuries to his hip and legs and possible ligament damage.

Two other cops were injured in the chase.

The suspect was taken to Bellevue Hospital for a cut to the head.

"Everybody loves him," a stunned relative of the suspect said.



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