May 28, 2007 – An Iraq War veteran from Long Island who had gone AWOL was arrested for desertion during a routine traffic stop in Cutchogue, police said.
Christopher Henessy, 27, who gave police an address in Riverhead, was behind the wheel of a 2006 Dodge Charger on Route 48 when he was spotted driving erratically by a police officer at 1:17 p.m. Saturday, authorities said.
When the officer entered his name in a computer database for a background check, he discovered Henessy had a suspended license and registration — and a felony warrant for his arrest.
“In his case, he was wanted by the United States Army,” said Sgt. Raymond Van Etten of the Southold Police.
Henessy told the arresting officer that he grew up in the area, had been in the Army for seven years — including a stint in Iraq — and had earned a Purple Heart, Van Etten said. “He was very cooperative,” Van Etten said.
Henessy was given tickets for driving with a suspended license and an unregistered vehicle, and was held on the warrant at the Southold police station house, police said.
Military police officers from Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn picked Henessy up Sunday night for extradition to Fort Knox, Ky., Van Etten said.
Several phone calls left Monday with representatives of the Army, Fort Knox and the Department of Defense went unreturned.
Soldiers are classified as AWOL — absent without official leave — when they leave their post without authorization. They are classified as “deserters” when the absence exceeds 30 days. The military handles the offense through court-martial, discharge, rehabilitation or administrative punishment.