Suffolk County Police have a man who they said was trying to enter on Friday morning by posing as a “town security guard.”
Police arrested Joseph Ciambriello, 31, of Lindenhurst, and charged him with driving under the influence of drugs and criminal mischief. The investigation is continuing and are pending, police said.
Ciambriello, who was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip for of injuries, was apprehended following a police chase that went through parts of Lindenhurst, North Lindenhurst and West Babylon.
According to police, Ciambriello fled the school in a black Corvette after being denied access to the building. Police located the vehicle on East Shore Road, and said he refused to pull over and intentionally struck police cars as they pursued him.
Police said five patrol cars were struck during the chase, and five officers and one lieutenant were treated at Good Samaritan for minor injuries.
One civilian driver, police noted, veered off the road and struck a tree in an effort to avoid the suspect’s vehicle, but wasn't injured.
The low-speed pursuit, according to police, ended on Colonial Road and Straight Path in North Lindenhurst after the suspect struck one police car and then backed into another.
Residents in Lindenhurst and West Babylon reported seeing the police chase.
"I heard all of these cars screeching outside my house," said Regina, a Lindenhurst parent of two children at Harding Elementary. She lives near the corner of Lido Parkway and Elm Avenue where that portion of the police chase to catch the suspect resulted in a crash.
"I saw a bunch of police cars race up the street. And then there was a crash. The guy got away, and I saw a cop wearing a neck brace being taken away in an ambulance," she said. "They couldn't catch him. He tore off in a black Corvette."
Another eyewitness told Patch in an e-mail that, “The chase went right past my house, which is on the corner of Third Avenue and 17th Street [in West Babylon]. From what I could see a black car sped eastbound down 17th Street toward Straight Path, and was being chased by no fewer than five Suffolk Police cruisers. They just kept coming."
A recorded message sent to parents on Friday from Harding Principal Brian Chamberlin, confirmed that the suspect tried to gain access to the school, but was denied.
"The message said there was an incident at the school today. A person tried to gain access to the school. The person was asked for identification. The person didn't have it, and so school security was called, as were the police," said Regina, who shared the message she received earlier this afternoon with Lindenhurst Patch.
"The message then said the person was apprehended," she said.
Another parent with a student at indicated that she received a School Messenger phone message about the incident, as well.
According to the , a man attempted to get into the school, claiming to be a security employee with the Village of Lindenhurst, and he had a flashlight. But the suspect never gained entrance to the school building, said school officials.
When approached by and asked to present proper identification, the suspect couldn't produce it, the district said. He was asked to leave school grounds.
Harding staff recorded the suspect’s license plate number and immediately contacted police.
The school was on lockdown while the police chase took place. The lockdown entailed limited access that kept teachers and students in the classroom, according to sources.
Once Suffolk Police alerted the district that they had the suspect in custody, the lockdown at Harding Avenue was lifted, said the district. A letter will also be going home to Harding parents.
"As always the Lindenhurst School District’s top priority is the safety and security of its students and staff. We're grateful that the staff of Harding Avenue acted swiftly to report the suspect and protect the well-being of its students," said Superintendent Richard Nathan in a statement.
The district’s other seven schools were also notified as a precaution, but were not placed on lockdown, said school officials.
Judy Mottl contributed to this story.
Editor's Note: This is a developing news story. Check back with Lindenhurst Patch as more details become available.