A Northport man accused of helping his uncle in carjacking a Commack woman after the uncle ran down two Suffolk County cops in Huntington last year pleaded guilty to charges relating to the crimes in court on Tuesday.
Nicholas Franzone, 23, pleaded guilty in Central Islip at a court conference to robbery, criminal possession of stolen property, unauthorized use of a vehicle, petty larceny and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, according to Bob Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota’s office.
Franzone’s crimes were for stealing gas and participating in stealing a Commack woman’s car and her credit cards as he and his uncle, Chad Moriszan, 35,were trying to dodge capture after striking officers Nicholas Guerrero and Heriberto Lugo.
They fled fleeing the scene of the hit-and-run, leaving Guerrero seriously injured. Guerrero had to be hospitalized for more than three weeks with a severe head injury. He underwent surgery and a regimen of physical therapy during his recovery.
Both Northport men were eventually arrested hours later in a Central Islip Target store on Carleton Avenue when they tried to use a stolen credit card to buy a television.
On July 23, Moriszan was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to assault in the first degree, assault on a police officer, leaving the scene, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, robbery in the second degree and forgery.
Franzone will be sentenced by State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho to three and one-half years in state prison on Sept. 9.
Ian Fitzgerald, a Central Islip-based attorney who represented Franzone, said he felt the sentence term was a fair one. “He had the chance to do the right thing and he didn’t take it so he got himself in this situation,” he said.
He also said the DA dropped prior felony assaults charge against Franzone.
“Our position from the beginning was that he really had nothing to do with Mr. Moriszan running over the officer,” Fitzgerald said.
The attorney said his client didn’t even see the officers struck, and wasn’t even aware that there was a second officer on the scene. The pair of officers pulled over Moriszan and Franzone during a traffic stop.
“He’s glad that it wasn’t worse,” he said. “He’s glad that officer Guerrero survived.”
Franzone has cleaned up his act since the incident, Fitzgerald said. The attorney said his client was on drugs — prescription pills — and since being incarcerated he’s gotten clean.
“[He] seems to be a pretty intelligent young man who unfortunately got wrapped up in some bad stuff.”