Prosecutors have determined that no additional charges will be brought against a South Portland man who crashed into a parked police cruiser on the Casco Bay Bridge, allegedly while fidgeting with his cell phone.

The officer who was in the cruiser continues to get physical therapy but has not been cleared by his doctor to drive. It is unclear when he will be able to return to work.

David Zografos, 40, of South Portland was charged with failure to maintain control of his vehicle after the crash on Nov. 1.

South Portland police investigated the accident and submitted the information to the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office, which determined that there were no other violations.

Police Chief Edward Googins said the incident shows how a simple lapse in concentration almost killed one of the city’s officers.

“The fact is, we had an operator driving distracted. For the betterment of the motoring public and everybody’s safety, people have to realize how disastrous the consequences could be,” he said.

Zografos was driving his pickup truck toward Portland on the bridge when he got distracted by his cell phone, police said. The phone was connecting to the Internet while he was trying to make a call.

Focused on the phone, he rounded a bend in the bridge and failed to see the cruiser with its emergency lights on that had stopped in back of a disabled car, police said.

Witnesses said Zografos was driving at the speed limit — 40 mph — but did not slow down. The pickup crushed the cruiser into the concrete barricade in the center of the bridge.

Officer Rocco Navarro was in the driver’s seat of the cruiser. The collision knocked his head back so hard that the headrest snapped from the metal support posts, he said.

“I remember waking up, and the dash was caved in, and thinking I had to get out for fear of explosion,” Navarro said by telephone Friday.

He remembers kicking the door and falling out, and a cruiser approaching with its siren on. Then he regained consciousness in the hospital.

“The first couple weeks were really, really bad. I’d wake up in the morning and feel like I was 90 years old,” said Navarro, who is 28.

Navarro, who suffered damage to muscles and tendons, has been getting physical therapy for his neck and back. He also is having therapy for other effects of the crash, like short-term memory loss.

Most of all, he’s frustrated to be out of work and anxious about the uncertainty of when he can return.

One of Navarro’s first assignments will be to speak to students at Portland and South Portland high schools about the dangers of driving while being distracted by cell phones.

“I’m definitely lucky to be here. It could have been worse,” he said. “Hopefully, this sends a message to others out there. No text message is worth another person’s life.”

Despite the crumpled cruiser being on display at the base of the Casco Bay Bridge, drivers remain oblivious, he said.

His father drove him to the police station to visit fellow officers, and as they were leaving, a woman on a cell phone ran the stop light on Waterman Drive, missing the passenger side of the car by about 10 feet, he said.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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