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N.Y. Officer Escapes Serious Injury in Chase Crash


June 04--Hamburg Village police officer escaped serious injury but his patrol car was destroyed late overnight when the officer lost control of his vehicle while shutting down a chase of a motorcycle clocked at over 100 mph.

Officer Matthew Cullen suffered a head cut, bumps and bruises but was released following treatment at Erie County Medical Center. He is recuperating at home.

The incident began with Town of Hamburg police pursuing the speeding motorcycle before ending their chase.

At some point, Cullen began chasing the motorcycle before he, too, decided to shut down the pursuit.

"As he reached down to shut off the emergency lights, he hit the curb and then lost control," Hamburg Village Police Chief Dennis Gleason said.

The police car then struck a telephone pole at Lake and Church streets, in an incident reported at 12:02 a.m.

All indications are that Cullen followed proper police procedure, which calls for officers to shut down any pursuit if they believe it puts anyone in danger, Gleason said.

"He made the right decision to shut it down, and things can still happen," the chief added. "I'm just glad he wasn't seriously hurt."

Authorities don't know how fast the patrol car was going at the time of the accident. Erie County sheriff's deputies are investigating the crash.

Hamburg village police officials said the motorcyclist remains at large. They plan to review the video from the patrol car to see if they can identify the motorcycle or its operator.