By Arielle Dollinger
Two Northport men arrested last month after they allegedly ran down a cop with a stolen Ford Explorer, stole gas from a gas station, hit another car and carjacked the vehicle of a Commack resident are facing upgraded charges after a Tuesday morning arraignment in Suffolk County Court.
Chad Morizsan, 34, and his nephew, Nicholas Franzone, 22, both of Northport, have now been charged with first-degree assault in addition to the original charges they faced following their alleged Sept. 22 crime spree.
Despite an attempt by Morizsan’s attorney to reduce his bail, it remains at $3 million cash or $30 million bond. While Franzone’s attorney also argued to lower his client’s bail, State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho raised the original $150,000 cash/$450,000 bond amount to $300,000 cash/$900,000 bond.
Around 1:35 p.m. Sept. 22, Second Precinct Police Officer Nicholas Guerrero, along with Officer Heriberto Lugo, stopped the Explorer on Partridge Lane. The driver, Morizsan, allegedly hit Guerrero, 36, with his vehicle as the officers were trying to speak to him and his passenger, Franzone.
Officer Guerrero, who remained hospitalized as of press time on Oct. 7, is in “very serious, serious condition,” District Attorney Thomas Spota said following the arraignment.
Guerrero, who was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital with what police said was “a very serious head injury,” has undergone a craniotomy and other procedures, Assistant District Attorney Carl Borelli said during the Oct. 7 arraignment.
“I think it’s safe to say he’s got a long road ahead of him,” Borelli said.
Officer Lugo was treated and released from the hospital.
According to police, Morizsan was driving a 2014 Ford Explorer that he had allegedly stolen two days earlier in Commack when Guerrero and Lugo pulled him over. Morizsan, with Franzone as his passenger, then allegedly struck Guerrero with the vehicle, left the accident scene and proceeded to steal gas from a gas station.
Allegedly, Morizsan asked for $10 in gas at a Shell gas station on Larkfield Road, Borelli said during the Oct. 7 arraignment, and drove away before paying. According to Borelli, this incident was captured on the gas station’s video surveillance system.
After stealing the gas, police said Moriszan “collided with another vehicle” – a red Honda Accord, according to Borelli – as he drove away. Morizsan then allegedly carjacked a Toyota Camry from an elderly woman and stole her purse and credit card.
Suffolk County Police found and arrested the pair at a Central Islip Target, where Borelli said the two purchased a television with the elderly woman’s credit card. When police arrived at the store, Borelli said, Morizsan allegedly hid in a back room, pretending to be a Target employee, while Franzone changed his hat and took off his hooded sweatshirt in what Borelli said was an attempt to disguise himself.
That day, Morizsan was arrested on three open warrants for violation of probation and petit larceny, and was also charged with: third-degree grand larceny; assaulting a police officer; leaving the scene of an incident resulting in serious physical injury; petit larceny, leaving the scene of an incident resulting in property damage; second-degree robbery and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Franzone was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Louis Tetone, First Vice President of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, said to leave a police officer “fighting for his life” on the side of the road was “a disgusting act.”
“I want to commend the grand jury for having the courage to indict these parasites,” Tetone said.
Guerrero has been with the department since 2010, police said.
“Officer Guerrero is a very hardworking, dedicated, well-respected member of police department,” Commissioner Edward Webber said in a press release.
Morizsan and Franzone are scheduled to next appear in court on Nov. 5.