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El Cajon officer dragged by driver released from hospital

el cajon police officer Nick Cirello.jpeg
Posted at 2:41 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 17:51:26-05

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) — The El Cajon officer who was seriously injured after being dragged by a vehicle has been released from the hospital.

Officer Nick Cirello was struck by a vehicle on Dec. 14 in the 100 block of W. Washington Ave. at about 8:30 a.m., after officers responded to a call of a vehicle blocking the roadway with the driver and passenger asleep in the vehicle.

When the officers awoke the two, the driver gave identification for someone else. The driver suddenly started the vehicle and started to put it in gear, when one of the officers, Cirello, attempted to stop him. Cirello was dragged for a distance by the vehicle while still partially inside and hit by another vehicle traveling past the incident, police said.

RELATED: Suspect wanted after El Cajon officer dragged by car is from well-known Guam family

Cirello was ejected from the vehicle and taken to a nearby trauma center was placed in intensive care. He is expected to make a full recovery following his release.

Police have identified the suspected driver in the incident as 41-year-old David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan. He's described as a Guamanian man, 5' 6" tall, weighing 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

A journalist in Guam told 10News reporter Leah Pezzetti that Pangilinan is from a well-known family in Guam.

“Mr. Pangilinan’s family is very well known, a very nice family that has built up businesses a lot over the years, has contributed a lot to the community so his name does stand out,” he said.

A police officer in Guam said they would know if he tried to return to the island because everyone who arrives on the island must go into quarantine for six days due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The passenger in the suspect vehicle was described as a Hispanic female in her late teens or early 20’s.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the El Cajon Police Department at 619-579-3311 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.