UPDATE: Driver who smashed into Hemet PD K9 patrol vehicle possibly intoxicated, officials say
On-Scene Photographs and Video:
Miguel Shannon & R. Rippy / Epicenter News
HEMET – A Hemet Police K9 handler and a driver suspected of being under the influence were both injured in a traffic collision on Thursday, Mar. 3, when a patrol vehicle was rear-ended while stopped at a red light. The accident occurred at 2:18 a.m, according to a press release from Hemet Police officials.
The driver of the other vehicle, identified only as a 45-year-old male, was transported by ambulance to an area hospital with unspecified injuries. He has not yet been charged, pending toxicology results, according to CHP Corporal Mike Hall.
The officer had complaint of neck and back pain following the accident and was also taken to a local hospital for treatment. He was later released.
The K9 appeared to be uninjured after the accident, however, was taken to a local veterinarian to be checked for injury. The K9 was later released from the veterinarian with prescribed medication.
Due to the severity of the collision, Hemet Police officials requested the California Highway Patrol respond and conduct the accident investigation.
A preliminary CHP investigation revealed that just prior to the collision, the on-duty K9 officer was stopped at a red traffic signal facing westbound, at the intersection of Florida and Lyon Avenues. The driver of the other vehicle was traveling westbound on Florida Avenue and failed to stop for the red light, smashing into the rear-end of the marked police car.
The CHP investigation revealed there was “little to no brake input prior to impact,” indicating the driver who struck the patrol vehicle either failed to apply their brakes prior to the impact or applied them too late to slow the vehicle, which was described as a gold PT Cruiser. Both vehicles reportedly sustained severe damage and had to be towed from the collision scene.
“Both the police K9 and the specially equipped police car involved in this collision were purchased with funds donated by the Hemet community,” according to the press release. “The City of Hemet will be working closely with the other party’s insurance company to repair or replace the damaged police car as quickly as possible.”
Anyone who witnessed the accident is urged to contact the California Highway Patrol, San Gorgonio Pass Station at (951) 769-2000.
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