LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Police are pictured at the scene along Ridge Street in Freeland where a borough police officer was seriously injured by a suspect fleeing the scene of a disturbance.
A Freeland, Luzerne County, police officer was seriously injured on Thursday afternoon when he fell from the car of a fleeing suspect.
State police at Hazleton identified the injured officer as Matthew Williams. The suspect arrested and charged was identified as Michael Daniel Mokshefski Jr., 27, of Blakeslee.
Troopers said the incident began about 3 p.m. when Williams and Police Chief Nadine Sist responded to the area of 620 Ridge St. for a report of a disturbance.
On scene Sist and Williams encountered Mokshefski, Michael Salko Jr., Cody Salko and Andrew Kuklinski. During the course of interviewing the individuals regarding the disturbance, all four were separated by the officers.
Kuklinski was initially placed in a police cruiser while Michael Salko Jr. and Cody Salko were instructed to remain near their residence, which is 620 Ridge St.
Mokshefski was sitting inside his vehicle, a 1988 Jeep Comanche. As Mokshefski was being interviewed by Williams, who was standing outside the driver side door, he told the suspect to turn the ignition off on the Jeep. Mokshefski did not turn the ignition off and Williams reached inside the vehicle in an attempt to turn off the ignition.
At this point Mokshefski applied the accelerator of the vehicle causing it to travel about 100 feet down Ridge Street while Williams continued to hang on the driver's side door instructing the suspect to stop.
Mokshefski disregarded Williams' instructions, troopers said, and attempted to turn left onto Main Street at a high rate of speed. This caused Williams to fall from the vehicle and strike his head and body causing serious injuries.
Mokshefski continued to travel on SR940 in an erratic manner, troopers said, heading toward the Blakeslee area. Mokshefski stopped in the Blakeslee area and fled on foot into a wooded area. He was eventually taken into custody by troopers. Responding to the area were troopers from the Hazleton, Fern Ridge and Lehighton barracks.
Williams was flown by a medical helicopter to the Geisinger-Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township, in Luzerne County, for treatment of head and other injuries, troopers said.
Mokshefski is facing multiple counts including aggravated assault.