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3 Calif. officers injured during pursuit, crash

A pursuit through residential streets resulted in a dramatic collision, injuring two sheriff's deputies. A third officer was also injured

By Kim Minugh
The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A high-speed chase through residential Sacramento streets resulted in a dramatic collision Tuesday afternoon, injuring two sheriff's deputies and landing two suspects in custody.

A third officer  a Citrus Heights police officer assigned to the Sacramento County sheriff's gang unit  also was injured as he helped detain the suspects. All three officers were transported to local hospitals but none was seriously injured, said sheriff's Sgt. Lisa Bowman.

The suspects, too, were taken to a hospital as a precaution, but were expected to be cleared for booking into the Sacramento County Main Jail, Bowman said.

Despite the lack of serious injury, Bowman said the collision nonetheless had shaken colleagues in the department. The sight of the mangled cars and debris-littered road alone was jarring, one that served as a reminder of the dangers of on-duty collisions.

"We're still very concerned," Bowman said. "We all know this could lead to long-term injury."

The pursuit began about 11:45 a.m. when deputies watching the suspects stopped them in a Dodge Charger near Earl Warren Park in Sacramento's Colonial Village neighborhood. The suspects were known gang members who were wanted for questioning in connection with a homicide case, Bowman said. At the request of investigators, she declined to say which case was involved.

As a deputy approached the car on foot, the driver  a woman who has not been identified  backed up the car, turned the wheel and attempted to run over him as she fled the scene, Bowman said. During the next six minutes, deputies pursued the Charger as it wound through residential streets in the Colonial Village and Tahoe Park South neighborhoods, at times reaching speeds of 60 mph, Bowman said.

At one point, the driver sideswiped a parked car on Alcott Drive, but no one was injured. Elsewhere along the route, one of the occupants tossed a "big bag" of heroin out the car window, Bowman said. The bag weighed in at more than a half-pound, she said.

Just before the collision, the Charger was headed northbound on 65th Street before turning eastbound on 18th Avenue. In the middle of the intersection with 65th Street Expressway, the Charger collided with a northbound sheriff's patrol car. That unit had been trying to get ahead of the pursuit and in place to stop the vehicle if possible, Bowman said.

After the collision, the patrol car went up on the sidewalk, took a chunk out of the curb and came to rest in the front yard of a home next to the intersection. The Charger crashed into bushes lining the Expressway, just north of the patrol car. Black skid marks and debris indicated the paths of the cars.

Nearby, a 27-year-old resident rushed from his home after hearing the sound of the collision, which he likened to the crack of a gunshot.

"It was real loud," said the man, who asked not to be identified because of the possible gang ties to the incident.

He described hearing the sound of a car racing by his home before the booming crash of the collision, followed by another loud sound he attributed to the deputies taking out the curb.

"They were flying through here," he said of the suspects' car.

The man said he trusted that law enforcement was doing its job, but said it was worrisome to know such a high-speed pursuit had taken place on residential streets.

Bowman said she understood such fears, but that deputies continued the pursuit out of concern for public safety. She said the fact that the driver tried to hit a deputy likely played a large role in the decision, as did the lack of traffic in the area. A patrol sergeant monitored the pursuit, assessing the risk, as is standard practice, she said.

The collision is being investigated by Sacramento police because it occurred in their jurisdiction. Officers had 65th Street Expressway blocked off for more than four hours as they processed the scene.

Copyright 2014 The Sacramento Bee 


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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