Police officer hurt after suspects drag him as car speeds away

Jon Cusack was responding to call about possible overdose

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Pembroke Pines man was arrested Tuesday, accused of dragging an officer with his vehicle and then leading police on a pursuit along Interstate 595 in Broward County.

The driver Thomas Cabrera, 38, faces charges of attempted murder of a police officer.

Pembroke Pines police said Officer Jon Cusack, a 19-year veteran of the force, was called to a possible overdose in a car at Century Village. Cusack's body camera captured the incident.

Police said a security guard in the neighborhood called authorities after spotting a man and a woman inside the car who were unconscious. A clear baggie containing an unknown substance could also be seen inside the car, authorities said.

Police said Cabrera placed the car into drive when Cusack woke him up and tried to leave the scene.

Cusack reached into the vehicle to try to prevent Cabrera from leaving, and was dragged for more than half a mile by the vehicle as Cabrera drove at speeds of up 60 mph, authorities said.

Police said Cusack clung to the vehicle to avoid being run over. 

Officer Jon Cusack
Officer Jon Cusack

When a Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue crew responded to the initial overdose call Cabrera changed his direction of travel and tried to crash into their truck to cause Cusack to fall from his vehicle, police said.

Authorities said Cusack eventually released his hold once the driver slowed his speed as he approached the Century Village exit.

Cusack was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.

The car that struck Cusack got onto northbound Interstate 75 before continuing east on I-595. It eventually slowed down because of oncoming traffic, allowing officers to corner the suspects on the shoulder.

Police with their guns drawn ordered the suspects out of the car. Police said Cabrera told officers he had been using both cocaine and heroin. 

All lanes of eastbound I-595 were closed during the takedown.

The female suspect has not yet been identified and it's unclear whether she will face charges. 

"We wish to thank our residents who have offered both support and prayers for the safety of our officers during this time. We also want to extend our gratitude to our neighboring law enforcement agencies who helped us take these suspects into custody," the Pembroke Pines Police Department said in a statement.

Cusack's partner told Local 10 News reporter Ian Margol that the 47-year-old Cusack is in good spirits, but suffered severe road rash all over his body.

Cusack spoke publicly later in the day through the Broward Police Benevolent Association, saying that he's just happy that he wasn't more seriously hurt or killed.

"He's doing very, very good -- good spirits. His wife and three kids are there, so he's in good spirits," Broward PBA president Jeff Marano said. 

He said the incident could have been much worse for the officer.

"He has some injuries to both forearms and then his feet. Obviously, when he was being dragged, it just went right through his boots," Marano said. 

Marano said Cusack isn't letting the incident put a damper on his holiday plans.

"They have a trip planned to go to Disney this weekend and he's still going to go," Marano said.

Cusack is expected to make a full recovery.

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