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Motorcycle officer hospitalized after crash
Porterville Police Sergeant Rick Carrillo was taken to a Fresno hospital after he was struck by a car in the area of Morton Avenue and Conley Street Tuesday morning.
Police say witnesses reported that a driver, later identified as 27-year-old Jose Tapia of Porterville, was traveling east on Morton Avenue in the left lane as Carrillo was traveling on his police motorcycle alongside him, in the right lane. Reports indicate that Tapia did not see Carrillo when he changed lanes and collided with the motorcycle.
The force of the crash knocked the motorcycle down and Carrillo slid while on the motorcycle for about 50 feet before colliding with the concrete curb and light pole on the southeast corner of Morton Avenue and Conley Street, the PPD reports.
The PPD reports that citizens saw Carrillo get struck by the car and stopped to render aid. One of them used Carrillo’s police radio and called in “officer down.”
Initially, Carrillo was rushed via ambulance to Sierra View District Hospital but he was later transferred to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno for neck and head injuries.
Officer Dominic Barteau described the nature of Carrillo’s injuries as “moderate,” and said Carrillo was awake, responsive and in stable condition.
According to Barteau, accidents involving motorcycle officers are not common within the department, however, this is the second time Carrillo has been struck by a car while on patrol.
In December 2010, Carrillo sustained moderate injuries to his right leg after he crashed his motorcycle with a car at Lowery Street and Pioneer Avenue. Reports indicate that as Carrillo approached Lowery Street, the driver of the car drove into the intersection in a northwesterly direction, and hit the motorcycle. Carrillo was ejected from the motorcycle and was taken to Sierra View District Hospital, where he was treated and released the same day.
Barteau said Carrillo was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash Tuesday. He added that the driver of the car was evaluated for alcohol or drug impairment and was cleared.
It was unknown as of Tuesday evening if the California Highway Patrol would cite Tapia for an unsafe turn, Barteau said.
Contact Denise Madrid at 784-5000, Ext. 1047. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseMadrid_.