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Suspects arraigned as Naugatuck officer struck by truck has long road to recovery

"This is a crime of the most serious nature," said the state's attorney inside Waterbury Superior Court.

NAUGATUCK, Conn. — The Naugatuck police lieutenant who was struck by a truck before a multi-town pursuit Thursday underwent emergency surgery Friday morning, and the three suspects allegedly connected to his injuries were arraigned in court.

FOX61 learned from Naugatuck police the officer injured is Lt. Mark Pettinicchi, a 19-year veteran of the department with a wife and kids. Both his legs are broken, and he has a long road to recovery.

"This is a crime of the most serious nature," said the state's attorney inside Waterbury Superior Court.

RELATED: Naugatuck officer recovering from surgery after being struck by suspect vehicle fleeing shoplifting

The incident unfolded Thursday afternoon at the Walmart in Naugatuck when Francis Ibell allegedly tried to steal something.

"He is a part of the very spark that ignited this entire ordeal," explained the state's attorney.

Police responded and noticed a getaway vehicle allegedly being driven by 29-year-old Stanton Ragar Trent, who allegedly rammed his truck into Lt. Pettinicchi as he was working a traffic detail.

"It’s nothing short of a miracle that the police officer wasn’t killed being hit by a Honda Ridgeline that drove directly into him," said the state's attorney.

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Trent then allegedly led police on a high-speed chase across five towns. "During the pursuit through Wolcott, a school bus had come to a stop and was letting children off of the bus. The operator drove through the blinking red lights at over 50mph while the children were exiting the bus," explained the state's attorney.

His passenger, 25-year-old Asia Poulin, allegedly tossed a loaded gun, drugs and money onto lawns on Todd Road.

"What she did was try to assist the driver in escaping any responsibility," said the state's attorney.

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Outside the courthouse, FOX61 spoke with Stanton Trent’s cousin, Melinda Foote, who claimed the whole incident was fabricated.

"I think that the police interrogated him and put drugs in his car. I think they did him wrong. They did him dirty...I’m so angry and upset. He’s a good kid. He would never harm anybody."

Trent was ordered to be held on a $1 million bond. He had no previous criminal convictions. He will be back in court on Nov. 17.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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