Calif. LEO critically injured during traffic stop

A man believed to have been involved is wanted for questioning, police said


By Teri Figueroa
The San Diego Union-Tribune

EL CAJON, Calif. — An El Cajon police officer was hospitalized in critical condition Monday morning after he tried to detain an SUV driver but ended up partially trapped in the vehicle, dragged, then flung from it as the driver sped off.

The officer was also struck by another car during the incident on West Washington Avenue near South Magnolia Avenue, police Lt. Randy Soulard said in a news release.

About 8:30 a.m., someone called police to report that a black SUV was blocking the road, and the driver was asleep behind the wheel. Officers arrived and found the driver still asleep. They also found a sleeping passenger.

The officers woke them up, and the driver gave police a false name, Soulard said. At some point, the driver suddenly started the SUV and put it into gear.

An officer tried to stop the driver from leaving, but the officer ended up partially trapped in the SUV and was dragged as the driver tried to flee.

As the officer was hanging from the fleeing vehicle, he was struck by another car on the road. He was thrown from the moving SUV and landed in the roadway.

The officer suffered "significant injuries," Soulard said. He was taken to a trauma center, and was in "critical but stable condition," he said.

The SUV driver sped off with his passenger still in the vehicle.

The driver and passenger ditched the vehicle — a black 2019 Volkswagen SUV that had been rented out of San Diego — not far from the site of the encounter. But their whereabouts were unknown as of Monday afternoon.

The driver appeared to in his 30s or 40s with a shaved head and no facial hair, Soulard said. The passenger looked to be in her late teens or early 20s.

Anyone with information regarding the incident or the driver or passenger were asked to call the El Cajon Police Department at (619) 579-3311. Anonymous tips can be left by calling San Diego Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. To leave anonymous tips online or via mobile app, go to sdcrimestoppers.org.

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

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