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Police: Drunk Man Hits Police Car While Officers Investigate Other DUI Crash

Two men were charged with driving under the influence in on Laurel Hill Avenue early Saturday morning after the second man crashed into the police car while officers investigated a head-on collision involving the other man.

Brigham Eckhardt, 25, of Old Saybrook was driving on Laurel Hill Avenue when he attempted to pass a vehicle that was pulled over near the Waterford Country School at about 1 a.m., Norwich Police Sgt. Chris Ferace said. As Eckhardt tried to pass the vehicle, he crashed head-on into another car.

The other driver was taken to William Backus Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Ferace said. Eckhardt was uninjured in the crash.

While police were investigating the accident, Ronald Pires, of 157 Talman St., Norwich, collided with a police car, which was parked on Laurel Hill Avenue near the Summer Street intersection, about 1:20 a.m. An officer was inside the vehicle at the time, but was not injured, Ferace said.

Pires, 37, tried to flee the scene in his vehicle after the crash, Ferace said. Police were able to stop Pires and arrest him after they noticed he was drunk.

The driver’s side of the police car was smashed in on impact. It has since been taken out of service, according to Lt. Patrick Daley.

Eckhardt was charged with failure to drive right, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, possession of marijuana and illegal possession of prescription drugs.

Eckhardt’s bail was set at $2,500. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Norwich on March 3.

Pires is charged with failure to drive right, operating a motor vehicle under suspension, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of liquor and evading responsibility. Pires remains in police custody with a $15,000 bail.

The 37-year-old has been previously convicted of similar offenses, according to state court records. He has been sentenced seven different times for operating a vehicle under suspension and was found guilty of driving under the influence on May 16, 2007, records state.

Pires could face up to two years in prison if found guilty of driving drunk a second time, Daley said. He is scheduled to appear in Norwich Superior Court on Tuesday.

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