Escondido police patrol car struck by suspected DUI driver

Officer suffered minor injuries; Suspect led chase

ESCONDIDO, Calif. - A driver suspected of DUI is in custody after Escondido police say he struck an officer's patrol car early Saturday.

The crash occurred at about 5:10 a.m. near Valley Parkway and Hickory Street.

According to police, a Cadillac SUV struck the patrol car from behind twice at a moderate speed. 10News was told the impact of the crash pushed the officer's car forward and disabled it.

Police say the driver of the SUV, 23-year-old Michael Najera of Escondido, drove off after the collision and made no attempt to stop or check on the officer.

The officer, who was alone in the car, requested help and additional officers responded.

Police tracked down the SUV within minutes and tried to stop it. They say Najera refused to yield and led officers on a pursuit.

According to police, Najera drove at low speeds throughout the city and eventually drove to state Route 78. The San County Sheriff's Department and California Highway Patrol assisted Escondido police as the chase moved into San Marcos.

The SUV eventually crashed into the wall of an elderly care facility near San Marcos High School. Police say the driver then tried to run but was quickly taken down by officers.

He was arrested about 50 minutes after the crash involving the patrol car. No other vehicles were hit during the slow speed pursuit.

The officer suffered minor injuries from the collision. He was treated and later released from the hospital.

Najera was not injured. Police say he was under the influence of drugs.

He was booked into the Vista jail and faces felony DUI and hit-and-run charges, as well as pursuit and resisting arrest. Bail was set at $100,000.

Najera is scheduled to be arraigned in court on Tuesday.

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