Monday, November 4, 2013

Bristol man agrees to plea in drunken assault on police

Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Bristol man with a long criminal history will spend at least 3½ years in state prison for allegedly injuring two Bristol Township police officers and damaging at least three cars during a brief police pursuit in August.
The plea agreement was revealed during a brief court appearance Tuesday for Kyle Romanowski, 42, of Cleveland Street, during which he waived charges against him including aggravated assault, fleeing and eluding police, recklessly endangering another person to Bucks County court for trial.
In exchange, the prosecution dropped a first-degree felony aggravated assault charge and Romanowski agreed to plead guilty and serve a 3½- to 7-year prison sentence with consecutive eight years of probation.
Kyle Romanowski
Bristol Township District Judge Joanne Kline rejected defense attorney Steve Jones’ request that she reduce Romanowski’s bail, which she set at 10 percent of $2 million.
“I believe, your honor, at best, it was a bad night,” Jones said, when making the reduction request.
“It was a bad night for our officers,” Kline replied. “Will he have another bad night?”
Bristol Township police say Romanowski was high and drunk when township police officers confronted him outside the Fantasy Adult Book Store in the 800 block of Veterans Highway about 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 14. The officers were responding to a report of a man in a car drinking Four Loco, an alcoholic drink.
The officers told Romanowski that he needed to call someone to pick him up or he’d be arrested for public intoxication, and they allowed him to look for his cellphone in his car.
When the suspect couldn’t find the phone, he became uncooperative with police, according to a probable cause affidavit. The officers ordered him to get out of his car, but he ignored the commands.
Romanowski allegedly held onto the steering wheel and grabbed the open driver’s side door and tried to close it on two officers, police said. Then he managed to start the car. An officer fired a stun gun that struck Romanowski on the left shoulder, but it didn’t work.
The suspect shifted the car into reverse and “floored” the accelerator, police said.
The open car door hit officer Tom Polistina, injuring his hand, police said. The open driver’s side door trapped officer Tom Phillips and the car dragged him “violently” about 10 feet until the driver struck a patrol car parked behind him. Phillips struck the passenger side of the patrol car, causing him to flip over the car and land on the ground, police said.
Both officers sustained non-life threatening injuries that required brief hospitalizations, police said.
After striking the officers, Romanowski continued driving without his headlights, speeding south on Veterans Highway, police said.
A police pursuit began with officers from neighboring Bristol joining in when the suspect entered the borough. Romanowski drove through stop signs and red lights and the wrong way down one-way streets, police said. He continued driving after the airbags were deployed.
During the eight-minute-long pursuit, Romanowski allegedly crashed into a car — where a toddler was a passenger — at Otter Street and Route 413, but continued driving. He was arrested after he struck at least one other car with two people inside on Route 13 at Green Lane. He also struck road signs, jumped curbs and at one point was driving on two rims, police said.
After he was taken into police custody, Romanowski was overheard saying that he had smoked cocaine and drank alcohol after learning his girlfriend had cheated on him, according to police. Romanowski’s blood alcohol level was 0.19, double Pennsylvania’s 0.08 limit for safe driving, and he tested positive for cocaine, prosecutor Christopher Rees said.
Romanowski has a suspended driver’s license, multiple felony arrests and a conviction for fleeing and eluding police in his 28-page criminal history, according to authorities.
Prior to his court appearance Tuesday on the assault charges, Romanowski was arraigned on new theft charges for allegedly stealing $1,290 from his former employer.
Bristol police say Spa, Hearth & Home reported last month an ex-employee — Romanowski — had used a company gas credit card “numerous” times over two days at a Bristol Pike gas station.
Romanowski allegedly would approach customers telling them that he needed cash, but only had a gas card and offered to exchange the use of the card for cash, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
He was charged with 10 counts each of access device fraud, theft, receiving stolen property and related charges. Kline set his bail at 10 percent of $10,000 in that case.
Jo Ciavaglia: 215-949-4181; email:; Twitter: @jociavaglia


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