Calif. deputy punched in cruiser then struck by driver during foot chase

Deputy Dakota Palanca suffered major injuries and was taken to a hospital in critical condition

Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGLES — A 25-year-old Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy is in critical but stable condition after being struck by a suspected drunk driver Monday night while running after a man authorities said assaulted her in her patrol vehicle.

Deputy Dakota Palanca was the first on the scene after a 5:40 p.m. call about a man acting erratically on the street in Paramount, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference Monday evening.

Before Palanca could confront the man, he began assaulting her, punching her through the police car’s window, Villanueva said.

She jumped out of the vehicle and chased the suspect toward Alondra Boulevard and Downey Avenue. While crossing the street, she was struck by a Chevy Suburban, the sheriff said.

Officials said the driver was under the influence. Palanca suffered major injuries in the collision and was taken to a hospital in critical condition, officials said.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her for a speedy recovery,” Villaneuva said Monday evening.

The suspect in the assault was arrested by other deputies after a brief struggle, officials said. The Suburban driver was arrested and could face a felony charge for allegedly driving under the influence.


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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