2007_01_w2810th.jpgThere's always some sort of trouble in West Chelsea. Last night, two off-duty police officers were assaulted by a group around 4AM. Officers Richard Lomax and Robert DeFazio, friends who both graduated from the Police Academy last year, were in a Ford Explorer that apparently slid on ice at West 28th Street and 10th Avenue. They rear-ended a Nissan Maxima, whose driver and passengers were not happy: Lomax, who was driving, and DeFazio got out of the car, and the Maxima's passengers attacked them as Lomax was dialing 911.

Police officers from the 10th Precinct had been patrolling the area and saw the attack. The NY Times reports that Lamont Lafducade, Durzell Williams, and Thelma Lopez were arrested and charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon (a switchblade was found in the car); Lafducade was charged with driving while intoxicated. Lafducade was recently released from prison for robbery, Williams had previous arrests for attempted murder and weapons charges, and Lopez had previously been arrested for drug possession and assaulting a police officer.

It's unclear whether Lomax was intoxicated or whether the three assailants knew Lomax and DeFazio were police officers. Lomax suffered a fractured skull from his head hitting the curb; he is in critical condition. DeFazio is in stable condition.

In an unrelated incident, Newsday reports that an intoxicated off-duty firefighter hit a police officer on the FDR near Clinton Street. The police officer "was attending to a car accident" early yesterday morning; the firefighter was charged with DWI while the cop, who suffered leg injuries, is in stable condition.