A 24-year-old man who led police on a high-speed chase and caused a car accident that nearly killed a Nassau County police officer has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In the November 2011 crash, Louie Blanton slammed on his brakes during a police chase that reached speeds of 125 mph, causing Officer Colleen Magnifico to crash her car. Magnifico, the mother of an 8-year-old and a once avid runner, still struggles to walk after suffering spinal injuries in the crash.
The chase began after Blanton's car matched the description of a car connected to a series of burglaries in Massapequa.
Before the sentencing, Magnifico's husband, Gregg, also a Nassau County police officer, addressed the defendant, saying, "You took a great cop, you hurt her and now she can't do her job anymore."
He added, "One of my regrets is that I wasn't in the patrol car. I would have run you over."
Colleen Magnifico did not speak at the sentencing. She sat in a front row of the courtroom's gallery, with her eyes down and her hands clenched as her husband spoke.
Blanton then addressed the court, saying he had made a mistake.
"I'll be a man here today and face that," Blanton said. "I hope the officer finds it in her heart to forgive me."
Judge Jerold Carter told Blanton that police officers are "our last line of defense."
"That cop is dedicated to making certain you are safe," the judge said. "For this woman not to be in a position to do that is a travesty."