CARLSBAD, Calif. – Four people, including two officers, were injured when a pickup truck and a police patrol car were involved in a violent collision Sunday night in Carlsbad that police now say was caused by a drunken driver.
The collision occurred at around 7:14 p.m. at the intersection of Poinsettia Lane and El Fuerte Street, leaving a trail of debris. Witnesses said a Ford F-150 carrying two men appeared to run a red light and smash into a Carlsbad police patrol car carrying two officers. The truck rolled and landed on its side, with its occupants trapped inside.
"And the truck was just rolling," witness Bernardo Paneiros said. "Then we came up here, stopped. Luckily the officers were able to get out. They looked kind of dazed and there's just a bunch of people helping out."
Carlsbad Fire Department crews arrived and extracted the men, who sustained major injuries. One was airlifted to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. The other was transported to the same hospital by ambulance.
The two officers were taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas with minor injuries, Carlsbad police said in a news release. Their patrol car was destroyed.
Police say the driver of the pickup truck, Juvenal Gonzalez, a 41-year-old Vista resident, was under the influence of alcohol and are recommending he face felony DUI charges when he is released from the hospital, according to CHP.
"We do have open containers in the vehicle," CHP Sgt. Brad Denham said shortly after the accident. "There was an odor of alcohol on the breath of the driver and he is intubated at this time, so he's not gonna be able to consent to a blood test. We'll have to get a search warrant from a judge to get a blood sample from him."
"All too often, members of our community are senseIessly injured or killed on our local roadways by intoxicated drug-impaired drivers," said CHP Sergeant Eric Nicholas. "Even law enforcement officers, who try valiantly to protect the public from such reckless individuals, can and dc fall victim too."