DWI charges in crash that injured cop

Two charged with DWI; officer in a coma
May 19, 2008 3:26:02 PM PDT
A Long Island police officer is fighting for his life Monday after making a routine traffic stop. He stopped one driver, only to be hit by another.Nassau County police officer Kenneth Baribault remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Long Island reporter Emily Smith has more.

It was a scene dozens of drivers saw on the Long Island Expressway early Sunday - a police car smashed like an accordion. And off-duty firefighter Phillip Scarfi didn't think twice about helping.

"I was just in the right place at the right time," he said.

When Scarfi got closer, he realized the person he would cradle in his hands was a Nassau County police officer who was trapped in his car, turning blue from a lack of oxygen.

"We realized he wasn't breathing, he had a pulse but needed some help," Nassau police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said. "Nothing good comes from having a 6-year-old son wondering where his dad is."

The tragedy happened just before 6 a.m. Sunday, when the officer pulled over a suspected drunk driver, Marcin Bycuk.

When Baribault went back to his police cruiser to do the DWI paperwork, a Mercedes traveling an estimated 75 miles per hour plowed into his car. That driver was 27-year-old Rahiem Griffin, who police say illegally obtained a license in New Jersey after having his New York license suspended.

Scarfi is no stranger to trauma. He's the sole survivor from his fire truck crew on 9/11, and his family also got a much needed rescue in car crash years ago.

"There was a passerby who helped," Scarfi said. "I'm glad he was there and I'm thankful for that."

Scarfi says he is happy to pay it forward, but baribault remains unconscious with significant pelvic and head injuries.

Both Griffin and Bycuk are charged with DWI. Griffin plead not guilty and was released on $200,000 bond. He is due back in court on May 22. Bycuk also pleaded not guilty and is due back in court on June 18th.