Amherst, New York - An Erie County Sheriff's deputy was charged with driving while intoxicated and vehicular assault after he allegedly struck and critically injured a motorcyclist from behind at about 4 a.m. Saturday, Amherst police said.
The deputy, Michael E. Haug, 28, of Kenmore, was off-duty at the time of the crash, authorities said.
The victim, Daniel J. Colosimo, 37, of the Town of Tonawanda was thrown from his 1982 Suzuki motorcycle. He was taken to Erie County Medical Center where he was being treated for head injuries. Amherst police said doctors listed him in critical condition.
Investigators with the Amherst Police Accident Investigation Unit said in a statement that the incident occurred at about 4:07 a.m. Colosimo was stopped at a red light on the westbound side of Sheridan Drive, at Bailey Avenue. He was struck from behind by Haug, who was driving a 2011 Jeep, police said.
Haug was arrested and taken to Amherst Police headquarters. He refused a blood-alcohol test and Amherst police obtained a court order from a judge to have his blood drawn, authorities said.
Haug, who has been on the force for 5½ years and has family members who are local law enforcement, was immediately suspended without pay pending the outcome of criminal and administrative investigations, the sheriff's office said.
He was expected to be arraigned this morning in Amherst Town Court.
The Sheriff's Office said that if Haug is granted bail and does not make it, he would be transported to a nearby county jail rather than the Erie County Holding Center because of his familiarity with the holding center as a deputy.
Eggertsville firefighters and Twin City Ambulance assisted at the scene of the crash.
Amherst police are asking any witnesses to the crash to call 689-1311.
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