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Cop clipped in ticket stop; $1 van driver busted

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Cops slammed the brakes on a reputed dollar van driver who injured a cop as he allegedly tried to speed away from a ticket near Kings Plaza Thursday afternoon, cops from the 63rd Precinct said. Officials said that police spotted 51-year-old Bertram Harte of the 900 block of East 71st Street in Canarsie dropping off passengers from a 1999 Dodge van at the bus stop near the corner of Avenue U and East 52nd Street on the afternoon of January 18. Officials allege that Police Officer Robert McGinn stopped Harte and asked him to produce his license and registration. That’s when Harte gunned the gas and sped off, police alleged. The van’s side view mirror struck Police Officer McGinn’s hand as he sped off, according to a criminal complaint filed with the Kings County District Attorney’s office. McGinn’s injuries were minor, officials said. Cops chased Harte down Flatbush Avenue, ultimately cornering his van on Farragut Road, where they determined that Harte’s license had been revoked. Responding officers also recovered a machete from beneath the driver’s seat, sources from the 63rd Precinct alleged. Cops charged Harte with assault, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and driving without a license, officials said. He was arraigned on $3,000 bail the next day, said prosecutors, who added that grand jury proceedings against Harte had just begun. Captain Michael Ricciardi, the 63rd Precinct’s Executive Officer, said that Police Officer McGinn wasn’t seriously injured. In the three days that followed the arrest, cops seized 22 dollar vans operating illegally near Kings Plaza. One of the drivers was arrested for operating a motor vehicle without a license, said Ricciardi, who added that the renewed crackdown was “making a difference.” “We’re seeing a big difference,” he said. “Traffic is easier, there is less congestion and less accidents. Things are changing because we are keeping up with our efforts.”

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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