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Oceanside Police officer recalls being hit by suspected DUI driver

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Posted at 7:33 AM, Dec 16, 2022

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) – Officer Jason Dantzler has been with the Oceanside Police Department for seven and a half years, but what happened to him earlier this week is something he won't forget for the rest of his career.

“I never thought I would be on the receiving end of something like this,” Dantzler said.

Dantzler is referring to being hit by a suspected drunken driver on Tuesday morning just after 1:30 a.m., in the 1200 block of Vista Way.

“My car was parked. So when he came off of the freeway and he hit my vehicle, we believe he was going about 60 miles per hour ... hit my parked car and then he pushed my car about 50 feet back from where it was originally located,” Dantzler said.

“All I remember is the airbags deploying, the vehicle getting pushed back and me thinking to myself, 'What just happened?'" the officer told ABC 10News.

After assessing his injuries and radioing in what happened, Dantzler jumped out of his heavily damaged squad car to help the person in their car who just slammed into him.

“And saw that it was completely demolished. It was totaled. The front end was just pushed in and their car engine was on fire. So, I said to myself, 'I have to get that person out of their vehicle,'” Dantzler said.

With the doors locked, Dantzler tried breaking the car’s window with his baton but had no luck.

He tells ABC 10News that some neighbors in the area came into help him. Oceanside Police said a neighbor used a crowbar to pry the other driver’s door open to get him and alcohol bottles were inside the car.

“Them stepping in and helping out, it just shows how great the people of our city are here in Oceanside,” Dantzler said.

Dantzler said that he hopes to be back in a patrol car this Sunday if he’s medically cleared on Saturday. Obviously, he wouldn’t not the same patrol car he was in on Tuesday.

After this terrifying incident, he hopes people realize the dangers of driving under the influence and now having a new passion while on his beat.

“Once you experience something like this, you realize how life-changing it can be,” Dantzler said. “But at the same time, I have a renewed perspective about people who drive under the influence and the importance of educating people not to do that.”