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Man shot by Ledyard police facing three years for trying to run down officers

In World
January 05, 2024

Jan. 4—A former Wethersfield man shot by two Ledyard police officers when he attempted to run them over while fleeing a traffic stop will serve a maximum of three years in prison.

Francisco Hernandez, also known as Francisco Jacobs, 40, pleaded guilty on Thursday to attempted assault on a police officer, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and evading responsibility in connection with the Jan. 20, 2019, incident.

Hernandez, free on a $25,000 bond, entered the pleas in New London Superior Court where he will be sentenced on April 22 to a maximum of three years in prison and three years of probation as part of a plea agreement. The case had been scheduled for a trial.

At 11:20 p.m. on Jan. 20, 2019, Ledyard Police Officer Ben Burbank was on routine patrol, checking the town for icy conditions, when he spotted a northbound car in the southbound lane headed right at him, police reports show. Burbank turned around to stop the red 2007 Honda Civic on Lantern Hill Road, but the car sped off, driving erratically at a high rate of speed to Indiantown Road (Route 214) where it nearly struck several vehicles, police reports show.

Police used stop sticks at the intersection at Spicer Hill Road and Iron Street, which initially sent the car off the road. Police said the car, however, continued onto Route 117 where it forced three oncoming vehicles onto the road’s shoulder.

Police said Hernandez drove into the backyard of a home at 8 Reservoir Drive, where the car slid down a small slope and got stuck on the ice. Three officers approached Hernandez, shouting orders to turn off the car’s engine and show his hands.

One officer approached the car, ready to break the window and pull Hernandez out. Hernandez, was revving his engine at the time, rocking the car back and forth. When the car gained traction, police said Hernandez accelerated toward two officers.

Concerned the vehicle was to be used as a weapon against them, police had their guns drawn. As the car accelerated towards Burbank and Officer Kyle Long, Burbank and Officer Bobby Kempke fired at the vehicle, striking Hernandez several times, reports show. Hernandez was immediately treated at the scene by the officers and taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital for treatment. Reports show police fired 18 shots at Hernandez.

The shooting was investigated by the state police Eastern District Major Crime Squad and New London County State’s Attorney’s Office, who deemed the shooting to be justified.

During investigation, police learned Hernandez, whose license was suspended, was headed to Foxwoods Resort Casino and had several past criminal convictions, including one for engaging an officer in pursuit.

Police found a half full bottle of Grey Goose vodka in the car and hospital records show his blood alcohol level was .14, nearly twice the legal limit on the night of the shooting. There were also traces of cocaine in Hernandez’s system, police said.

New Haven-based attorney John R. Williams, who represented Hernandez, said the delay in sentencing will allow Hernandez to finish college courses he is taking.

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