Gang member who drove at police cruiser gets 17-21 years, Suffolk DA says
Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini, shown in a file photo, announced the sentencing of a Bloods gang member to 17 and one-half to 21 years in prison
A Bloods gang member was sentenced to 17 to 21 years in prison for driving head-on at a police cruiser — twice — and then leading officers on a high-speed chase in which his vehicle topped 100 mph in 2017, officials said.
Justin Lewis, 31, of Shirley, was convicted by a Suffolk County jury Oct. 10 on a slew of charges, including two counts of attempted aggravated assault of a police officer linked to his dangerous predawn driving on Nov. 11, 2017, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement Thursday.
“This individual is a dangerous gang member who put many lives at risk, including the life of a Suffolk County Police officer,” Sini said. “It is clear that this defendant had no intention of stopping for law enforcement that day.”
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said in a statement: “Justin Lewis displayed a blatant disregard for both the lives of law enforcement officers and those around him with his acts of aggression.”
Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice William J. Condon on Wednesday sentenced Lewis to 17 ½ to 21 years in prison.
In total, Lewis was convicted of 16 charges, including four counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, two counts of third-degree unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle and reckless driving, officials said.
Lewis’ attorney could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Officials said Lewis was driving fast and failing to maintain his lane while headed east on Route 347 in Lake Grove about 12:20 a.m. that Saturday.
“He then drove into a residential area and drove head-on toward a marked Suffolk County Police patrol car twice, causing the police officer to move to avoid collision,” officials said. Lewis then drove faster than 100 mph, prompting a police pursuit with several patrol cars and a police helicopter, officials said.
He then drove south on Route 112, and evaded an attempt by an officer to stop him by using stop sticks, authorities said.
A long-term investigation found that before he fled police that morning, he had brandished a firearm in front of a woman at his Farmingville residence. He was identified by witnesses, DNA evidence and other tactics as the driver who led police on the chase, officials said.
By Antonio Planas