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Lake Elsinore Police Officer Hospitalized in 'Airborne' Wreck

The sheriff's department confirms a deputy assigned to the Lake Elsinore Police Department was injured in the Monday night crash.

CHP officials say this sheriff's cruiser catapulted over a large pile of rocks late on Feb. 10, 2014 along Highway 74, just south of Trellis Lane.  Photo by: Daniel Lane
CHP officials say this sheriff's cruiser catapulted over a large pile of rocks late on Feb. 10, 2014 along Highway 74, just south of Trellis Lane. Photo by: Daniel Lane
*Editor's note: This article has been updated to provide additional details from the scene.

A sheriff's department cruiser crashed in Lake Elsinore late Monday night, injuring the occupant inside, the California Highway Patrol reports.

Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy Armando Munoz confirms to Patch that a deputy assigned to the Lake Elsinore Police Department somehow crashed their black-and-white cruiser in the area of State Route 74 and Rosetta Canyon Drive, just before 10:30 p.m.

"They did take him out of the vehicle, and they transported him to a local hospital," Munoz told Patch by telephone Monday night, while speaking of the emergency response efforts following the crash.

"We're still piecing things together, but what we do know now is the sheriff's unit was responding to a back-up call for a domestic violence incident ," CHP Officer Ron Thatcher said at the scene.  

"For unknown reasons at this time, the deputy lost control of his unit— he was traveling eastbound on Highway 74 near Trellis Lane— he veered off the north road edge and struck a large pile of rocks sending the unit airborne and it came to rest on its wheels," he told Patch.

The car landed some 50 feet from the side of the highway following the collision, but the extent of the officer's injuries weren't immediately known.

"I can't guess on [how severe his injuries are], but I know there's some blood, evidence, in the vehicle on the airbags, so there are going to be some facial lacerations, but other than that I don't know," Thatcher said.

Cal Fire confirms that they responded to the scene, and assisted with the rescue efforts.   However, the damage to the vehicle was not so bad as to require paramedics use the jaws of life, Riverside County Fire Department Spokeswoman Melody Hendrickson said.

"It was not a cut and rescue," Thatcher said, adding that emergency crews likely had to help the officer out of the vehicle through other means.

Initial CHP logs indicated the vehicle may have rolled, but once crews got on scene they ruled that out.

"It doesn't appear that [the cruiser] rolled," Thatcher described.  "It looks like it had catapulted or launched itself over the large pile of rocks and kind of came nose-down into the dirt, but I don't see any evidence of the vehicle rolling."

The roadway, described as a well-lit good-condition thoroughfare, was closed for about an hour and a half following the crash.


LAKE ELSINORE RESIDENT February 11, 2014 at 10:43 AM
I have to say if multitasking while driving is shown to be difficult for citizen drivers then it must be difficult for the police. There is something wrong with the hands free law it should apply to everyone since it's dangerous.
KELLY D. DIVINE February 11, 2014 at 10:51 AM
I AM SAYING A BIG PRAYER FOR DEPUTY MUNOZ. HE IS SUCH AN OUTSTANDING YOUNG MAN. I HOPE YOU RECOVER QUICKLY. YOU ARE AN AWESOME DEPUTY AND WE ARE LUCKY TO HAVE YOU WORKING IN OUR COMMUNITY.
Serious Sam February 11, 2014 at 11:36 AM
FORD CROWN VICTORIA POLICE CARS ARE GOOD STRONG CARS!
ChrisG February 11, 2014 at 11:37 AM
@ler, according to the article he was on his way to back up officers responding to a domestic disturbance. Those are the most dangerous calls police respond to.
One Voice February 11, 2014 at 12:27 PM
Distracted driving is distracted driving for everyone, no matter if your suppose to be trained to handle it or not, if laws pertain to every other driver then it should pertain to any driver, wishing the Officer a speedy recovery.
kristin c February 11, 2014 at 12:57 PM
This could have been something as innocent as him swerving to miss an animal in tge road.. dog, cat, coyote, skunk... well maybe not a cat. Most men I know would aim for a cat.
Over it February 11, 2014 at 01:54 PM
I wonder if this was the same idiot cop that cut me off last night while driving home as it was the same time frame. I live near Rosetta Canyon and after I pulled into my drive way I sat for about 10 mins on my phone. During this time I heard and saw all the Emergency vehicles pass my street.He was driving at least 10/15 mph over speed limit for area which is I believe 55mph without lights/siren on. I was wasn't the only car this happened to. I was in the middle lane just passing the light at the intersection with Am/pm and Burger King are. This cop came from behind in the lane to my right at the point that the lane merged into mine just passed the Mobile Gas station. From there he tailgated a car till he could pass on the right where it goes from 2 lanes to 3 . He was weaving in and out withou any blinkers as well. This is the second time in less then a month I have been almost taken out by these guys. The other time was the recent collision on Riverside Dr. Right off Collier. I was driving North on Collier at the light in front of IHOP. I was at a red light and heard and a cop car coming from behind so I stayed where I was at. I was in the far right lane as the cop passed on my right side. As he passed light turned green so I had started to pull forward just as a second cop car without lights or sirens on sped even faster then the first car by me and essentially cutting me off as he had to move over. He was going so fast that it violently shook my car.
Over it February 11, 2014 at 02:02 PM
Also someone please correct me if I am wrong but I want to say that is where the lanes go from 3 to 2 again. Obviously he was trying to pass someone unsafely again if it is. He should have had his emergency lights on at the very least.
ChrisG February 11, 2014 at 02:04 PM
@over, These guys should have their lights and sirens on if they are driving at speed to answer a call. Glad you didn't get hurt.
manson00015 February 11, 2014 at 03:09 PM
When using a unit, you have to have permission to use the lights and sirens. Their suppose to obey all laws. Unless sirens and lights permit them to do there job this they can speed to get where their going. These officers are suppose to do things safely. As an ex ROTC and almost police officer. I couldn't work with these people. Most have a belief that their better than god. /: than again you can find theses people all over in any work place or environment of life. Glad that i can just come home safely everyday.
Ken February 11, 2014 at 03:19 PM
They should have given him a sobriety check at the very least.
Sew Good February 11, 2014 at 03:55 PM
@Kelly Divine- The source of info for the article was Deputy Munoz. He was not the one injured, the driver of the unit was not identified.
M. Lee Davis February 11, 2014 at 04:12 PM
Funny,,The picture that headlines the article looks like,,"For Sale-One Wrecked Lake Elsinore Police Car"
Over it February 11, 2014 at 04:24 PM
I hope whoever he is recovers quickly from his injuries. However the way the officer was driving and if it is the same officer who I saw right before the crash should have never been behind the wheel if he had a huge headache and seeing spots. I appreciate and thank all law enforcement ,military, fireman, and anyone else who risks their live for us. I have many friend and family who are fireman,military, and law enforcement I respect them all a great deal. They also wouldn't be putting others at risk by doing their jobs correctly and safely. Im not try to sound harsh but what he did put others and myself in great danger! He made a poor decision to continue last night and unfortunately now dealing with the consequence. Being a cop he should have known better then to be behind the wheel in his condition.
KELLY D. DIVINE February 11, 2014 at 05:33 PM
Sew Good, Thank you for the correction, I will say a prayer for deputy Perez.
TVOR February 11, 2014 at 06:35 PM
I have noticed a big increase in cars driving with their brights on and not dimming them for oncoming traffic. Motorcycles are especially bad about that. I have had to slow way down a few times because I was totally blinded by a person's bright lights.
Timo February 11, 2014 at 06:53 PM
So if I was seeing spots and had a headache I would have enough common sense not to drive. He might as well have been drunk. Meatball.
Over it February 11, 2014 at 07:22 PM
Zzzzz you are calling names and accusing people of doing exactly what you are doing yourself. No need for name calling. If he had such a huge headache that he was seeing spots anyone with common sense and emergency training will tell you get to an emergency room quick and be evaluated. I understand and admire the fact that he wanted to back up his fellow officer but at the same time at what cost he never made it and things could have been much worse especially if this would have happened at a busier time for this stretch of road. If it was just a headache I could see your point but the fact he was seeing spots something was clearly wrong... Not to mention what was the excuse for the wreck-less driving by officers I have witnessed lately? Im just saying if something could have been prevented it should have no need putting others at risk.
KELLY D. DIVINE February 11, 2014 at 08:31 PM
MANSON00015....Almost...is that like almost pregnant? You kind of sound bitter that you couldn't make it in law enforcement/ ROTC is a great stepping stone, but to be a full fledged Sheriff you have to be BADASS!!!
trueconservative February 11, 2014 at 11:18 PM
Let's start over. A sheriff was driving as backup on a domestic disturbance and whether he swerved to miss an animal, swerved on a curve to miss another vehicle, or an oncoming car had its bright lights on he ran off the road and hit a pile of rocks and damaged his car and was injured. I don't get how any of you can put him at fault. I personally thank his response to a domestic violence situation and commend him for doing a very difficult job. I bless this sheriff and hope he gets well soon and can return to his job to protect all of us.
Brenda February 11, 2014 at 11:38 PM
TCURRY!!! Exactly. I have seriously been unable to post here again because of the sour milk hatred speeches going on here towards Police Officers in general. Do me a favor all of those I speak of. GET 911 DISCONNECTED FROM YOUR DAMN PHONES and never call it AGAIN for ANYTHING. Not an intruder, not a drunk man climbing into your bedroom window to rape your wife, not a 22yr old guy climbing OUT of your 14 yr old daughters bedroom window with a big smile on his face, or the neighbor who killed your dog with a bb gun, and please do not call in the medic's or fire department for your BBQ fire, or if you entire house is on fire, and especially do NOT call any of them if you or your family are trapped in that burning house.!! The first man to arrive who rushes in with a wet blanket thrown over him to get your babies out just may be a policeman. You sour milk whiners make me sick so do us all a favor and abide my statement. Do not call 911 for anything! And best luck with that when your lazy azz is having a heart attack on your couch watching soap opera's.
Alek J Hidell February 11, 2014 at 11:42 PM
Gung ho Barney Fife, where was Andy to calm him down...? check him for meth.
ChrisG February 11, 2014 at 11:58 PM
@brenda, thanks for the laughs.
Sbsp February 12, 2014 at 02:44 AM
Look in the mirror.
Brenda February 12, 2014 at 03:52 AM
Dang, re-reading that it is pretty funny and it was meant to be STERN!!! Chit.
arne olsen February 12, 2014 at 12:26 PM
Hope he is ok, but many of the Lake Elsinore Cops Hot Rod around Town at night, I walk eahc night and they go 90 MPH down Grand turn around at the high school and do it again many times a week! No call involved, just joy riding! If it was a call they would actually go to the call. They also have a bad habit of driving down the middle of grand and peppering every one in there path. At night, after 11pm its like you gave the keys to some 16 year old boys who play alot of car video games. Most are good cops but 2 or more are out of controll
dick weed February 12, 2014 at 12:37 PM
poor reporting as always when it comes to patch and are city and what ever branch of city is being reported
Sherry Thompson February 12, 2014 at 06:05 PM
Prayers for the Officer's family and hopefully a quick recovery!
Allen G February 13, 2014 at 03:36 AM
he was probably driving and texting. don't worry folks, he'll be ok... and no, he won't be paying any fines. but yes, you will have to pay for the damaged patrol car.
Allen G February 13, 2014 at 03:38 AM
also, isn't it ironic that he crashed by a for sale sign? did anyone else see that???? they are already ready to sell that wrecked car back to the public. hahahahaha

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