The two men had been arrested, handcuffed and stuffed in the back seat of an unmarked police vehicle, a seemingly routine part of a drug investigation on Monday evening in Queens
But what began with that banal bit of police work transformed minutes later into a manhunt across the borough after a Houdiniesque escape by one of the men, who took over the vehicle, rammed past an officer and sped away, the police said.
By Tuesday afternoon, the escaped prisoner, identified by the police as Bryan McMenamin, 38, of Ridgewood, Queens, had been located and rearrested across the East River, not far from Police Headquarters in Lower Manhattan, the police said.
But for nearly a day, Mr. McMenamin remained on the loose, his temporary freedom apparently attained by way of a contortion that the police had yet to fully explain. Officers found the car, with the other suspect still inside, less than a mile away from the Ridgewood corner where the men had been arrested just before 7 p.m. The police said Mr. McMenamin and the suspect who remained in the car, a 51-year-old man, were arrested on charges of heroin possession.
How Mr. McMenamin managed to wriggle into control of the car was not immediately clear. Officials said the escape would be reviewed by the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.
Two plainclothes Queens narcotics detectives had placed him in the back seat of the vehicle, his hands cuffed behind his back, the police said.
But when the two officers left the two prisoners alone in the car, the police said, Mr. McMenamin managed to work his way into the front seat and drive off, striking one of the detectives in the process.
The detective, whose name was not released by the police, was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center with an injury to his right leg.
The other man was not believed by the police to have played a role in the escape.
Mr. McMenamin was taken into custody on Tuesday afternoon without incident after the police received a tip that a man matching his description had been seen near St. James Place in Lower Manhattan, the police said. It was not immediately clear why he was there.
He was no longer wearing handcuffs when detectives caught up with him, the police said.
Mr. McMenamin had yet to be charged as of Tuesday evening in connection with the escape.
By J. DAVID GOODMAN
JUNE 17, 2014
The Newhawks Crew
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