Police officer injured in DWI crash

Two charged with DWI in crash that injured LI police officer
May 19, 2008 7:37:19 AM PDT
This morning, moments after a Nassau County police officer pulled over a suspected drunk driver, and another driver rear-ended the officer's police cruiser.The crash happened on the shoulder of the Long Island expressway near exit 46 in Plainview.

Eyewitness News reporter Carolina Leid is live at Nassau University Medical Center where the officer is tonight.

He was simply doing his job. Officer Kenneth Baribault is out of surgery.

Police say he's in a coma at Nassau University Medical Center and in intensive care with his family by his bedside.

With their heads lowered, officer Kenneth Baribault's family consoled one another on their way out of the hospital this afternoon.

Police say just before six this morning, a suspected drunk driver slammed into the 30-year-old officer's cruiser, ironically he was in the middle of arresting another driver for DWI.

Witnesses tell police the driver of this Mercedes plowed into the police cruiser going more than 75 miles per hour.

"Witnesses say that the back of the police car probably lifted six feet off the ground upon impact. The back of that patrol car almost meets where the driver was sitting. The rear wheel on the driver's side is touching the seat where the driver sits in that patrol car," Detective Lt. Kevin Smith, Nassau County police department, says. "It's a devastating accident."

An unidentified off-duty firefighter witnessed the crash, snatched his emergency kit and sprinted across six lanes of traffic to help.

"Just the kind of act of heroism on the part of the firefighters, he's a really humbled man," a witness says.

A man officer Baribault's family and fellow officers are thankful for and hope made the difference.

The driver who hit the officer's car is in the hospital charged with DWI.

Police say he was driver with a suspended license.