By Andrew Wroblewski
Statistics, Dr. James Vosswinkel of Stony Brook University Hospital said, gave Second Precinct Police Officer Nicholas Guerrero a one-in-three chance of surviving.
Guerrero – victim of a hit-and-run that left him critically injured on Sept. 22 – was airlifted to the hospital following the incident in Huntington that was allegedly caused by driver Chad Morizsan, 34, and his nephew Nicholas Franzone, 22, a passenger in the car. Both men are from Northport.
“When Nick arrived, he had a severely depressed neurologic status and immediately upon resuscitating him and analyzing him, we realized he had a life-threatening head injury,” Vosswinkel, chief of trauma surgery and one of Guerrero’s caretakers, said.
Several surgeries, care both procedural and conservative, along with Guerrero’s “strength and will,” Vosswinkel said, are what allowed him to leave the hospital last Friday, nearly four weeks after the incident.
“Today is a great day for Suffolk County,” County Executive Steve Bellone said at a press conference before Guerrero’s release. “One of our heroes, Police Officer Nick Guerrero, who suffered life-threatening injuries while attempting to stop some of the bad guys out there doing harm in our community will leave Stony Brook Hospital on the road to recovery.”
Guerrero, 36, was transported to a local rehabilitation center on Friday, hospital officials said, to begin weeks of inpatient therapy and – depending on his progress – months of additional therapy on the path to one day serve again as an officer.
“I look forward to and I’m confident that one day Officer Guerrero will return to full duty,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Edward Webber said. “Nick’s strength and faith have helped to get him through this horrific injury… We know that this ordeal is far from over [but] the strength and faith that he has shown has inspired us all.”
While the road to recovery for Guerrero has begun, the road to prosecution begins for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota in the cases brought against Morizsan and Franzone. On Oct. 7, at Suffolk County Court in Central Islip, the men were indicted on 28 counts – including grand larceny, second-degree robbery and assaulting a police officer.
“We know the district attorney will ensure that justice is brought to those that created this incident and we’ve already seen that by his actions of where we’re at right now with the indictments that have come down,” Noel DiGerolamo, Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association (PBA) president, said. “I have the upmost confidence that [Spota] will see that through.”
The defendants pled not guilty during their arraignment and are scheduled to next appear in court Nov. 5.