Motorcycle officer badly hurt in three-vehicle crash in Ramona
Video Report By Matt Johnson, Reporter - bio | email
SAN DIEGO (CNS / CBS 8) - A Chula Vista police motorcycle officer taking part in a training ride on a rural East County road Wednesday was seriously injured in a three-vehicle accident possibly caused by a newly licensed teenage driver distracted by text-messaging, the Highway Patrol reported.
The teen was heading east on State Route 78 in Ramona about 2:30 p.m. when the 2011 Ford Fusion sedan she was driving rear-ended a 2006 Chevrolet HHR whose 61-year-old driver had stopped to make a left turn onto Earlham Street, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The impact pushed the man's station wagon into the intersection, directly in the path Officer Nathaniel Walker's westbound motorcycle, CHP public-affairs Officer Brian Pennings said. The resulting collision sent the lawman tumbling over the Chevrolet and crashing through the windshield of the Ford.
"I don't know how you ever forget something like this," said Captain Gary Wedge with the Chula Vista Police Department. "She's fortunate that he wasn't killed."
Medics airlifted the officer to Palomar Medical Center for treatment of severe trauma, Pennings said.
Walker spent Wednesday night recovering alongside his wife and child while remaining in relatively good spirits, said Wedge.
"I think he recognizes that it could have been worse," he said, "but not only is he a good officer but he's a good human being and he will get through this. It's just tragic that it happened."
Ground ambulances took the girl and the other motorist to the same Escondido hospital with moderately serious injuries.
Preliminary evidence suggested that the teenager had been texting behind the wheel -- a vehicle-code violation -- moments before the accident, according to Pennings. She could face charges pending completion of the CHP's investigation in the case, he said.
The crash forced the closure of a stretch of SR-78 near Ramona Community Park. The roadway was reopened by early evening.
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