11/30/2004

Two Off Duty Calif. Motorcycle Officers Injured; Car Involved May Have Run a Red Light

Two Newport Beach Police Veterans Collide With A Car Driven By Man Who Turned in Front of Them, Police Say

By Marisa O'Neil, Daily Pilot (California)

IRVINE, Calif. - Two off-duty Newport Beach Police motorcycle officers were injured Sunday night when their bikes collided with a car.

Officers Dave Kresge, 37, and Matthew Chmura, 34, were riding their motorcycles north on Jamboree Road at about 7:30 p.m., after their shift, Newport Beach Police Lt. John Klein said. The two motorcycles struck a Mazda 626 as the car turned left from southbound Jamboree Road to Campus Drive, Irvine Police Det. Jonathan Cherney said. It appears that the Mazda, being driven by 55-year-old Huntington Beach resident Jon Lyon, may have run a red light, Cherney said.

Chmura, a four-year veteran of the department, seriously injured his leg in the crash and was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, Klein said. He appeared to have a compound fracture to his left leg, Cherney said.

Chmura was in intensive care Monday, but his injuries are not life-threatening, Klein said.

"It was a pretty bad break," Cherney said. "But he's going to make it; that's the good thing."

Kresge, a 12-year veteran, received minor injuries and was treated at Hoag Hospital and released, police said.

Police are investigating the crash but have not issued any citations.

Alcohol did not appear to be a factor, Cherney said.

It's the first serious accident for Newport Beach Police motorcycle officers in recent memory, Klein said. The department got new BMW motorcycles with anti-lock brakes about five years ago to help avoid such accidents, Klein said.

But Sunday's crash marks the second major one involving off-duty Newport-Mesa officers this year.

In June, an allegedly drunken driver on a motorcycle struck a Costa Mesa motorcycle officer as he rode home with another officer on the San Diego Freeway. Officer Dennis Dickens was knocked off his bike and received serious injuries, including a cracked pelvis.

Dickens is still recovering from his injuries.

Accidents and injuries often go with the territory for motorcycle officers, because of the nature of their work, Klein said.

"Motorcycles, in general, are more dangerous than cars," Klein said. "Any time you get in a collision, there's nothing to protect you, whether you're hitting sand and going down on the beach, or in this case, having a car turn in front of you. That's one of the reasons we give them so much training — so they can anticipate hazards and avoid them."

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