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Riverhead officer injured in crash ‘making progress’ in recovery while in ICU

Robert Sproston, the Riverhead Town police officer who was seriously injured while responding to a police pursuit March 31, remains in the intensive care unit at Stony Brook University Hospital, according to friends and family, who have organized a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to offset his medical costs. 

By Wednesday morning, the effort has raised more than $50,000. More than 745 individual donations have been made, according to the site.

“He’s making progress,” Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller said Tuesday. “Every day is a little better news, but he’s got a long way to go.”

Mr. Sproston, 28, served in the Marines before joining the Riverhead Police Department in 2017, and has also volunteered in the Rocky Point Fire Department and most recently the Riverhead Fire Department.

His father Bill, who’s a lieutenant in the Riverhead Fire Department, posted an update Tuesday saying his son opened his eyes and is resting.

“I’m sure that took a lot out of him with all the moving he’s been doing the last two days,” he wrote. “Thank you for all your unconditional love and support.”

In an update posted Monday, Bill wrote that “everything is going as well as expected with Rob as positive progress. He’s totally moving around more.”

On Monday, the hospital staff performed another CT scan, which came back the same, meaning good news, Bill wrote. His family was anxiously awaiting the moment he would open his eyes, which finally came Tuesday.

Last Thursday, the suspect who led police on the initial pursuit that began in Greenport was arrested. Alfred Cowell, 40, of Middle Island, who has a history of fleeing police and has previously been listed with a Riverhead address, was charged with burglary, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, unlawfully fleeing police, reckless driving, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and a number of traffic violations by Southold Town police.