EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) -- An El Cajon police officer responding to a traffic-related call was hospitalized Monday morning after being dragged by an SUV and then struck by another vehicle.
Police have identified the suspect as 41-year-old David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan. He is a 5'6" Guamanian male with short brown hair and brown eyes.
El Cajon police said officers were called to the 100 block of Washington Avenue at around 8:30 a.m. in response to a vehicle blocking the street with the driver “asleep or unresponsive behind the wheel.”
Officers arrived to find the driver and a female passenger asleep inside a black 2019 Volkswagen SUV with California license plate 8LCE117.
According to El Cajon police: “When officers woke the occupants, the driver provided identification for someone other than himself and officers began to investigate.
During this contact, the driver suddenly started the vehicle and began to put it into gear. One of the officers attempted to detain the driver and keep him from fleeing the scene.
In doing so, the officer was trapped in the vehicle and dragged for a distance as the driver fled.
As the driver fled with the officer still partially inside the vehicle, the officer was struck by another vehicle that was traveling in the roadway.
The officer was ejected from the vehicle and sustained significant injuries.”
According to police, the injured officer was taken to the hospital and is in critical but stable condition. No other injuries were reported.
A neighbor was doing yard work when the incident happened and watched it unfold.
"I heard my son scream and crying so I turn around and I see officer down. I run to the officer but the other police man came. The guy was out, completely out. Blood was coming out of his nose, his mouth and his head. And his eyes were rolled in the back of his head. The other officer came and put his hand on his head. I start praying for the guy, the next thing we know we see him move. We thought he was dead."
Police said the SUV, which was rented out of San Diego, was found abandoned a short distance away.
Anyone with information on this incident or the driver and/or passenger is urged to call El Cajon police at 619-579-3311 or San Diego Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.