About 2:00 a.m. Monday, a California Highway Patrol officer was hit by an SUV. The officer was thrown about 10 feet before landing in a hedge. The officer was assisting a motorist whose car had stalled on the freeway.
The police officer was listed in stable condition at a nearby hospital. The accident occurred after the fast-moving white SUV drove onto the shoulder where the two cars were parked. The SUV struck the officer before plowing into the police car. The driver of the stalled car was unhurt.
The SUV rolled completely over. The driver climbed out of the SUV and took off, running in the direction of a nearby off-ramp. Because another police vehicle was nearby, the police caught the driver quickly. He was charged with drunk driving, property damage, causing personal injury, and leaving the scene of an accident.
The driver had no license and no insurance. He had been convicted a year ago of driving while intoxicated. At that time he had also injured someone and also fled the scene. He was sentenced to jail for six months. But because the jail was so overcrowded, he was released in one month.
"What can we do?" said a policeman. "There are a lot more drunk drivers out there every night than there are police. The only time we can get them off the streets for good is when they kill someone."