Buffalo Police Officer Carl Andolina, who was shot along with his partner while attempting to subdue a suspect in December, was seriously injured early Wednesday after a sport utility vehicle turned in front of his motorcycle in Amherst, police said.
Andolina, 42, and Patricia Gorski, identified as his girlfriend, were headed east on North French Road, approaching Campbell Boulevard, at 12:34 a.m. when the westbound SUV, driven by Allen T. Reid, 17, of Williamsville, turned in front of them, Amherst police said.
Both Andolina and Gorski were thrown from the motorcycle by the impact. The motorcycle's handlebar pierced Andolina's right thigh and his femoral artery, causing significant muscle damage to his right leg, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson. Andolina, who lost a significant amount of blood, underwent emergency surgery to repair the artery and stop the bleeding.
Andolina was listed in stable condition in Erie County Medical Center. Gorski, who suffered a head injury, was treated in ECMC and released.
Reid and an unidentified female passenger, also 17, were not hurt, police said.
Andolina had hoped to return to the police force within a few months.
During a news conference Wednesday, Gipson said Andolina, an experienced motorcyclist, took evasive action but was unable to avoid the collision.
"From what I understand, he lost about half his blood," Gipson said. "He had to undergo surgery to stop [the bleeding]. But it appears . . . he is not in any life-threat-ening situation or in danger of losing a limb."
Gipson said Andolina told him recently he was eager to return to the force.
"I think he was very much looking forward to the day when he would be able to return to duty," he said.
"This is a significant setback," Gipson also said. "It will take awhile to rehab his leg. I think everyone is very concerned for Carl's well-being. He has gone through a lot; this is just something else he has to come through. We are hopeful and prayerful that Carl will be able to make the recovery.
Reid was issued two traffic summonses for failure to yield the right of way and operating a motor vehicle after 9 p.m. on a junior operator's license.
"It's that season," Gipson said. "Every year more young people are out driving. I encourage all young people to exercise a great deal of caution. Don't take those unnecessary chances. This could have been tragic."
Andolina was shot twice at close range when he and his partner, Officer Patricia Parete, attempted to arrest a teenage suspect on West Chippewa Street and Whitney Place on Dec. 5. Andolina recovered from his wounds. Parete was left with severe spinal injuries and is undergoing rehabilitation.
In May, Andolina was voted the winner of Fox TV's "America's Most Wanted" All-Star First Responders for risking his life for his partner during the shooting.
Gipson was upbeat about Andolina's future with the department.
"With desire still in his heart and mind, I think he will be an active participant in the Buffalo police force, he said. "We stand behind him as his police family."