Naugatuck PD identify officer injured in hit-and-run, seeking ‘important witnesses’ to incident

Crime

NAUGATUCK, Conn. (WTNH) — Three people have been arrested after a crime spree Thursday that included shoplifting, and hitting and injuring a Naugatuck Police officer on the side of the road.

Around 4 p.m., police were called to Walmart at 1100 New Haven Road to investigate a shoplifting complaint. Arriving officers interrupted the suspect, later identified as Francis Ibell, 49, attempting to get into a getaway car at 1081 New Haven Rd. When police approached, Ibell ran but was quickly apprehended.

While police were taking Ibell into custody, the getaway car, a gray 2006 Honda Ridgeline, fled north on Route 63. Moments later, the car encountered a Naugatuck Police officer directing traffic in the area of 561 South Main St. (Route 63).

The officer signaled the Honda to stop, but the driver accelerated and hit the officer at his post. Witness statements from the scene described the act as intentional, police said.

The injured officer was able to radio for help and initiated a pursuit of the Honda. The Honda led police on a 30-minute, high-speed chase that, at times, hit 90 miles an hour through Waterbury, Wolcott, back through Waterbury, Route 8, and I-84 west before being apprehended in Middlebury in the area of the South Street overpass.

During the pursuit, the Honda often went the wrong way down roads, ran red lights, and, police believe, was involved in a collision with a Waterbury school bus. Additionally, police said, during the chase, the occupants in the vehicles threw drugs, money, and a .380 pistol out of the car. Police were able to recover those items.

As a result of the investigation, Naugatuck Police seized over $14,000 in cash, 412 bags of heroin, 11 grams of cocaine, a loaded .380 pistol. An investigation into the origins of the pistol remains ongoing.

The Naugatuck officer who was hit was identified Friday as Lieutenant Mark Pettinicchi, 47. He is a 19-year veteran of the force. Pettinicchi sustained a shattered left ankle, a fractured right tibia, and a fractured right ankle as a result of being hit by the Honda. Lt. Pettinichhi underwent extensive surgery for the fractures at Waterbury Hospital Friday afternoon.

Deputy Chief Colin McCallister of Naugatuck PD said, following this incident “officers are reminded of the dangers they face every day.”

Lieutenant Mark Pettinicchi

A business owner who was working at his restaurant right across the scene from the crash watched paramedics load Lieutenant Pettinicchi into the ambulance.

Vinny Nasufi told News 8 Thursday what it felt like to see the officer injured on the ground.

“It really bothered me because I know the guy,” Nasufi said. “I know all of the cops here, but thank God we got the news that he was doing very well.”

The driver of the Honda was later identified as Stanton Ragar Trent, 29, of New Haven. The passenger was identified as Asia Shynise Paulin, 25, of Waterbury.

Trent is being held on a $1,000,000 bond and charged with the following:

  • Robbery, assault
  • Possession of drugs with intent to sell
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Reckless driving
  • Engaging Police in pursuit
  • Carrying a pistol without a permit
  • Weapon in MV
  • Larceny

A family friend of Trent’s said in court Friday this was out of character for the person she’s known his whole life.

“I am in shock,” said Carol Griffin. “There’s gotta be more to the story. He comes from a really good family. He’s a good kid. He’s an investor, he owns businesses I don’t know what happened here.”

Paulin is being held o $300,000 bond and is charged with the following:

  • Conspiracy at possession with intent to sell
  • Carrying a pistol without a permit

Ibell is being held on $500,000 bond and is charged with the following:

  • Robbery
  • Larceny
  • Interfering with an officer
  • Possession of drugs

When Trent was presented for arraignment Friday, officers used Lt. Pettinicchi’s handcuffs. A group of Naugatuck officers showed up at the courthouse for the arraignment of all three suspects in the case on Friday in support of Lt. Pettinicci.

“It meant a lot for those officers to show their support and solidarity,” the deputy chief added.

Naugatuck Police is in search of witnesses to the incident. They released a photo (below) of a silver SUV from the incident, possibly a Mazda Tribue, in hopes of finding the occupants who they call important witnesses to the incident.

Naugatuck PD in search of occupants of silver SUV

Anyone with information is asked to contact Naugatuck Police at 203-729-5221 or the confidential tip line at
203-720-1010.

Police said there is no danger to the public. Route 63 was closed between High and Cross streets for the investigation but has since reopened.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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