EL CAJON, Calif. - An Orange County man who drove drunk and crashed his truck into a San Diego police car, seriously injuring a rookie officer, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of DUI causing injury.
In a hearing in El Cajon, 21-year-old Samuel Ryan Sullivan also admitted allegations that he drove with a blood-alcohol level of .15 percent or higher and caused great bodily injury to the victim.
Sullivan faces up to eight years in prison when he is sentenced June 6 by Judge John Thompson.
According to Deputy District James Romo, the defendant exited northbound state Route 125 at high speed in his Toyota truck and ran a red light at Mission Gorge Road, broadsiding a patrol car driven by 24-year-old SDPD Officer Travis Betley on Dec. 30 about 2:30 a.m.
Betley was trapped in his patrol car for almost an hour before being freed from the wreckage. The officer -- who had been on the force more than 14 months -- has undergone multiple surgeries for broken bones and internal injuries and faces a long recovery, officials said.
According to Romo, the defendant -- a resident of Lake Forest -- was in San Diego for a friend's birthday party and admitted drinking before the accident.
Sullivan's blood-alcohol level was measured at .22 percent after the crash, nearly three times the legal limit of .08 percent for driving, Romo said.
Defense attorney Jeremiah Sullivan, no relation to the defendant, called what happened an "unfortunate" accident.