Officer charged in SUV crash

Posted: June 20, 2007

A Philadelphia police officer has been charged with driving under the influence and related offenses after he allegedly crashed his SUV into a police patrol car, injuring a fellow officer, and then struck a parked car with three people inside early Sunday in West Philadelphia.

Michael Connell, 35, who has been a police officer for six years, was arrested at the scene shortly after the accident, police said.

According to police, Connell was driving near 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue in the Powelton section about 3:30 a.m. when he plowed his SUV into the driver's side of the police cruiser, trapping the officer inside.

Connell then slammed into the parked car, police said. The occupants of the car did not report any injuries.

Police said a fire rescue crew extricated the trapped officer. He was taken to an area hospital, where he was treated for head and back injuries, police said.

Connell was taken to Presbyterian Hospital for treatment of a hand injury and for alcohol testing, police said.

"Officers must be held to a higher standard," said Chief Inspector William Colarulo, adding that police involvement in illegal activities "will not be tolerated."

Connell, who was assigned to the 22d Police District in North Philadelphia, was released on bail Monday, police said. In addition to being charged with driving under the influence, Connell is accused of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, and related offenses. He has been suspended from the Police Department for 30 days and is to be dismissed afterward.

Contact staff writer Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or

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