Riverhead officer hospitalized after police chase ends in head-on collision

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Officer Charles Schneider was hospitalized last night after his police cruiser, pictured above, was hit head-on by a work van driven by an allegedy high and drunk driver during a police chase.

A Riverhead Town Police officer was airlifted to a local hospital after the cruiser he was driving was hit head-on by an allegedly high and drunk driver during a police chase Wednesday night, police said.

Officer Charles Schneider, who has been with the department since June 2010, was admitted to Stony Brook University Medical Center for observation after suffering lacerations to his legs and possible internal injuries during the crash, which occurred shortly before 11 p.m., according to Police Chief David Hegermiller.

Edward Ferger, 46, of Jamesport, who was driving a white cargo van, was originally stopped on Herricks Lane in Jamesport after a report of a suspicious vehicle in the area. Mr. Ferber then fled north on Herricks Lane and then west on Sound Avenue.

Officer Schneider, who did not initiate the original stop, was responding to assist the officer. Officer Schneider was traveling east on Sound Avenue when he struck Mr. Ferger, whose vehicle had drifted to the eastbound lane, head-on just near Landscape Adventure in Riverhead, Chief Hegermiller said.

Mr. Ferger was not seriously injured in the crash. He was charged with driving while intoxicated as well as driving while ability impaired by drugs, reckless driving and failing to stop at a stop sign, according to police.

Mr. Ferger was also arrested in June after allegedly throwing drugs out the window of the same white van and ended up on the lawn at the George G. Young community center in Jamesport, town officials said. The van was impounded.

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