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Ex-WNY cop undergoes surgeries after head-on crash with suspect

A North Carolina police officer with ties to Western New York has undergone multiple surgeries and is still recovering from injuries suffered when a convicted sex offender led police on a chase and struck his car head-on last week.

Officer Keith R. Trietley of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police was pulled from his burning patrol car Dec. 30 after it was wrecked in a collision with an extended-cab pickup truck driven by Francisco Rodriguez, 57, according to the Charlotte Observer.

The report stated that Triet-ley was backing up another officer who also was injured in the incident, which began as a stop for an alleged speeding violation at about 2:30 p.m.

Trietley, 32, who previously lived in Amherst and Clarence Center, suffered broken arms, a broken thigh bone and a shattered kneecap in the crash, according to the Observer. He has undergone several surgeries in the last week.

Heidi Crater, director of April Five, an organization that helps police officers injured on duty in Charlotte, told the Observer that Trietley was "in good spirits but dealing with pain." Crater said he was expected to begin physical therapy soon.

Newspaper reports of the incident indicate that Rodriguez was stopped for speeding by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Richard E. Grubb. As Grubb was about to get out of his cruiser, Rodriguez put the pickup in reverse and struck the police car before fleeing, police said.

Rodriguez was chased by Grubb -- who called for backup -- for about two miles before they ended up on a dead-end road, reports said. Grubb got out of his car, but Rodriguez put the pickup in reverse and tried to hit Grubb, who fired two shots without hitting Rodriguez, according to reports.

Rodriguez sped off in the pickup and, according to witnesses, appeared to deliberately veer into Trietley's oncoming lane, causing the head-on crash, the Observer said.

The suspect, who was also wanted in Florida for violating his probation, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, fleeing to elude arrest and other offenses, according to reports.

e-mail: citydesk@buffnews.com

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