A 41-year-old San Lorenzo man was arrested Saturday on suspicion of driving drunk after slamming his Federal Express tractor-trailer truck into a California Highway Patrol officer at an accident scene near downtown Sacramento, the CHP reported.
Gregory Anthony Ramirez drove his FedEx truck into the accident scene on Highway 50 near the 16th Street onramp about 3:30 a.m., seriously injuring a CHP officer who was working to clear the site of a two-car collision on the highway, the CHP said. Ramirez was taken to a CHP station in south Sacramento and was later arrested.
Shortly after officers responded to the initial 3:10 a.m. crash involving a hit-and-run driver, the eastbound FedEx truck struck the officer, either directly or after first hitting the officer’s patrol car, CHP public information Officer Michael Bradley said Saturday.
The veteran officer from the CHP’s south Sacramento division has not been identified. He is expected to survive, Bradley said.
Besides investigating the second crash, authorities are looking for the unidentified driver of one of the two vehicles in the initial crash, who fled the scene on foot.
The second crash about 3:30 a.m. came as officers, with their patrol cars’ lights flashing, were in the process of moving the two vehicles to the highway’s shoulder.
It’s the second major Sacramento crash involving a FedEx big rig in several months. In December, the driver of a FedEx tractor-trailer on southbound Interstate 5 lost control in rainy weather and the truck jumped the center divider, striking a northbound vehicle and killing its driver.
In a statement Saturday, FedEx said it is working with officials investigating the latest accident.
“First and foremost our thoughts are with the officer and others involved in this accident, and we are cooperating fully with the authorities as they conduct their investigation,” spokesman David Westrick said.
Several CHP officers have been injured or killed in recent months by motorists.
In March, CHP Officer Nathan Daniel Taylor was struck and killed by an out-of-control vehicle while investigating a traffic collision in icy conditions on Interstate 80 west of Donner Summit.
Last month, a Reno man allegedly backed his truck intentionally into a CHP motorcycle officer who had stopped to assist a motorist in the center median of Interstate 80. The officer suffered critical injuries and the man accused of hitting him, Austin Barry Scott, faces charges of attempted murder and other counts.
And earlier this week, a CHP officer suffered moderate injuries after his vehicle was struck from behind at a stoplight. Police arrested the motorist on suspicion of driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
Protecting public safety workers was the goal of a 2006 law requiring motorists to move over or slow down when approaching stopped emergency vehicles with lights flashing. Follow-up laws expanded the rule to cover California Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks, with all 50 states and the District of Columbia now having some version of a “Move Over” law.
According to a 2013 legislative committee analysis of the California law, the CHP has reported a steady increase in the number of people arrested and convicted of violating the move-over rule.
Bradley said motorists, if they can, should move their vehicles off the highway after a crash. “We know how dangerous it is on the shoulder,” he said.